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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 10:27 am | Fair 63º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Homers Rally Menlo Past Westmont, 4-3

A four-run seventh inning turned out to be the difference as NAIA 8th-ranked Westmont Baseball (6-2, 0-1 GSAC) fell to the Oaks of Menlo, 4-3  in the Warriors' first Golden State Athletic Conference game of the 2017 season. 

The contest, though played at Westmont's Russ Carr Field, was a home game for Menlo (10-1, 3-0). The scheduled three-game series at Menlo last weekend was postponed due to both rain and the unavailability of a field to play on.

Westmont faced Menlo starter Jason Alexander, who last May pitched a complete game against the Warriors to claim a 9-3 win and eliminate Westmont from the GSAC Tournament.

Alexander retired the first 10 Warriors he faced. However, with one away in the top of the fourth, designated hitter Matt Matlock stepped to the plate and redirected a 1-1 pitched to a spot over the right-center field fence. The solo home run was the fifth of Matlock's Westmont career and his first this season.

Second baseman Michael Stefanic followed Matlock with a base hit to center field and then advanced to second on a wild pitch with Derek Rodigo at the plate. Rodigo struck out on a check swing for the second out of the inning while Stefanic stole third on the play. Third baseman Luke Coffey drove in Stefanic with a single to center field.

The Warriors added to their lead in the top of the sixth to go ahead 3-0. A lead-off single to right by Conner McManigal was followed by a well-placed bunt single by Matlock. With no outs and runners on first and second, Stefanic drove the ball to the warning track in right field, allowing Matlock to tag up and reach third base. Rodigo then produced an RBI sacrifice bunt down the first base line.

Westmont starter Daniel Butler held the Oaks scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning when Joe Gillette powered the ball over the center field fence for a three-run home run, tying the game. 

Butler was removed from the game in favor of right-hander Stephan Larson. The senior relief pitcher coaxed Dalton Maxwell to fly out to center for the second out of the inning. However, shortstop Julian Jarrard pounded a solo home run to left field that would prove to be the winning run.

On Friday, Westmont will host the Eagles of Biola in the first game of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m

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