Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific Tigers opened their home season tonight with a loss, falling 3-1 to the Northwestern Wildcats in the first game of a four-game series. The Tigers shutout the Wildcats in all but the fifth inning but that one inning was enough for Northwestern. Pacific falls to 0-5 on the season, while Northwestern moves to 3-2.
Will Lydon started the game strong once again, with two strikeouts in his first two batters faced. Lydon gave up just two hits outside of the fifth inning, where Northwestern scored all three of their runs. The junior also walked none but ended up with his second loss of the year. Lydon went seven innings, struck out seven, and gave up three earned runs on six hits. He now has 17 strikeouts in two games.
Reed Mason got the start for Northwestern and earned his first win after pitching five innings and allowing just one run. Mason struck out three and allowed three hits and three walks. Tommy Bordignon earned his first save of the year. Bordignon pitched four innings and gave up only one hit.
J.J. Wagner sent a high flyball to leftfield that dropped in front of the outfielder for Pacific's first hit of the game in the second. It was one of just four hits for Pacific, none of which came in the same inning.
The Tigers defense pitched in to help Lydon continue his dominance of the Wildcats. Danny Mayer made a great diving play in leftfield to catch a line drive just inches off the ground that ended the third inning. Just one inning later, Kevin Sandri dove to stop a ball on the edge of the grass. Sandri's throw from shortstop just barely beat the runner.
Lydon ran into his first trouble of the game in the fifth. After getting two outs, Lydon gave up an RBI triple as a hot liner just avoided Nate Verlin's glove at first to get down into the corner. An RBI single followed, with a double after that to make it 3-0. Lydon settled down after that, retiring the next seven before being replaced by Fineas Del Bonta-Smith in the eighth.
After a single by Verlin to start the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers manufactured a rally. The Verlin single extended the outfielder's reached-base streak to five. A combination of a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch moved Verlin to third before J.P. Yakel walked and Sandri reached on a catcher's interference.
A hot shot to the shortstop from Jimmy Boras ended in a fielder's choice, giving the Tigers their first and only run of the game. It was also Boras' first RBI of the season. Unfortunately, the second picked-off Tiger of the game ended the rally after just one run.
Louis Mejia followed up an impressive on-the-knees throw in the top of the seventh with a booming double high off the leftfield wall to lead off the bottom half. The senior second baseman, who had hits in his first five at-bats of the year, moved his batting average up to .389 on the year, tops on the team.
From there, the Tigers were completely shutdown by Bordignon. The Wildcat pitcher retired the last nine batters he faced after Mejia's double, which resulted in Bordignon's only baserunner allowed of the game.
Del Bonta-Smith matched Bordignon pitch for pitch as the game went on but the deficit was too much for the Tigers to overcome. Del Bonta-Smith ended up pitching two innings and allowing only one hit. The three strikeouts by the freshman gave Pacific 10 in the game, the second time this year that the Tigers have reached double digits.
Pacific will be back on the diamond tomorrow with a doubleheader. The first game begins at 2:00 pm, while the second will begin at 6:00 pm. Tickets for all games are available online.
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