Menlo College splits DH with, Westmont
Date of competition: Friday, April 28, 2017
SANTA BARBARA – There's really no other way to describe the regular season for the Menlo College baseball team than crazy. The Oaks were the sixth ranked team in the nation earlier and got that high in the rankings without playing a single home game.
As the season has been winding down, they have fallen out of the top-25 completely, still haven't had a true home game, and continue to be the most potent offense in the nation, in terms of home runs.
The Oaks may not have scored a ton of runs on Friday, but their hard work paid off, clinching a playoff spot in a doubleheader split with host Westmont College. Menlo is 33-16 (17-11), while Westmont is 27-21 (12-15).
Westmont flexed its muscles with extra base hits early and often in game one against Menlo starting pitcher Jason Alexander.
The senior entered the day 8-1 on the season, but Westmont cracked a "one" in the run column in the top of the second inning. Consecutive singles to open up the inning for Westmont got things started, and after a sacrifice bunt moved both runners up, Alexander let loose a wild pitch to score.
Westmont stretched the lead to three with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth.
Marcus Fukuhara, who took over pitching duties in the fifth, got an inning-ending groundout. Nick Quejado led off the bottom half of the fifth with a single and scored when Joe Gillette smacked a home run to left field, his 14th of the season.
Westmont came back to double its run total against a different pitcher, which included a three-run homer.
Gillette was a bright spot for Menlo, going 3-4 with the two-run homer. Reed Kienle, Sam Morgan, and Quejado added the other hits for Menlo.
This time around, Menlo struck first, though they had to wait until the third inning to get on the board. Senior outfielder Nick Quejado got things rolling for Menlo in a familiar fashion for this team: a home run. Just as they did in game one, the Oaks scored their first runs on a bomb from Quejado in the third inning, and Menlo held a 1-0 lead. Westmont got that run back in the bottom of the fourth inning off Menlo starting pitcher Brett Solano, who was solid during the first three innings. His fourth inning was nothing shaky, either: he got the first two batters out in the frame. He allowed a two-out double to get things going for Westmont, and an error on Julian Jarrard to the following hitter allowed the Warriors to tie the game at 1-1.
Kama Eldredge and the Oaks would not let this tie game last for long, and Eldredge got the top of the fifth started after getting hit by a pitch. He then proceeded to steal second and take third on a single from Quejado. With the top of the order up, Jordan Getzelman bounced out to third, but it scored Eldredge from that spot and the Oaks took a 2-1 lead. Jarrard followed with a bounce out of his own, and it scored Quejado. Tack on a solo shot from Jarrard later in the game (top of the eighth), and Menlo was in front by a comfy margin of 4-1.
The Oaks simply did not need any more offense with Solano on the mound, as he tossed a nine-inning complete game, his first nine-inning complete game of the season. He was simply masterful on this day, allowing just four hits, the one unearned run, one walk, and five strikeouts. Six innings he faced just three hitters, and was able to cruise through nine innings without having many high stress innings. As a matter of fact, the Warriors never got a runner on base against Solano with fewer than two outs in the inning. Solano now has his record sitting at a perfect 9-0 after picking up the win. Menlo clinched a playoff spot with the victory in game two, meaning they will be one of the five teams in the GSAC playoffs when Menlo hosts the tournament starting May 7th. The Oaks are just one game behind Biola and Vanguard for the top spot in the conference, but could also fall down to the fifth spot depending on the final day of the regular season, which is Saturday.
Menlo wraps up conference play with a doubleheader at Westmont tomorrow.
posted by Menlo Athketics on Apr 29, 2017 at 2:14 am
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