Santa Barbara’s John Jensen homered in his first at-bat for the Westmont baseball team, but visiting NAIA power Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho blasted three homers en route to a 13-2 victory in the season-opener for both teams on Thursday at Russ Carr Field.
Batting second in the lineup, Jensen, a senior transfer from UC Irvine and a former Santa Barbara High and SBCC standout, blasted a opposite-field solo homer over the left-field fence with one out in the first inning. The shot halved Lewis-Clark’s lead.
Jensen went 3-for-4 in his Westmont debut.
Lewis-Clark State, the 19-time NAIA World Series champions, scored twice in the top of the first on a single, two walks and two wild pitches from senior starter Jameson Kruger.
Devon Johnson expanded the lead to 4-1 with a two-run homer off Kruger with one out in the third inning.
Westmont’s Simon Reid ripped a triple in the fourth and later scored on a single by Drew Bayard to make it 4-2. Westmont loaded the bases with one out, but Lewis-Clark starter Tallon Thompson was able to escape without allowing another run. He struck out Lennie Rodriguez and got Alex Stufft to hit into a force play to end the inning.
Lewis-Clark State blew the game open with six runs in the fifth against relievers Cameron Phelps and Carlos Moreno, who both were making their Westmont debuts. Phelps is a transfer from The Master’s University, while Moreno is a freshman from Bishop Alemany High.
Aidan Nagle hit a two-run homer down the left-field line off Phelps. With two on and one out, Moreno gave up an RBI single to Zach Needham and a run-scoring walk to Matt James. Dalton Harum followed with a two-run single to make it 7-2.
Lewis-Clark State added four runs in the seventh on a two-run triple by Sam Linscott and a two-run homer from Riley Way.
Lewis-Clark State had 13 hits in the game, with Nagle and Johnson each collecting three.
Westmont will shake this one off quickly as it returns to the diamond at 2 p.m. Friday to face University of Saint Katherine of San Marcos. The season-opening weekend wraps up Saturday with a home game against Benedictine University of Arizona.
— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.