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Baseball: Harvard-Westlake battles Loyola to 3-3 tie

Monday's Mission League showdown between Loyola and Harvard-Westlake lived up to the hype--and then some. The only thing it lacked was a winner.

The game was called because of darkness moments after Quinn Brodey scored on Cole Malloy's fielder's choice to give Loyola a 4-3 lead with two outs in the top of the 11th inning. The count was 1-0 to the next batter, Angelo Armenta, when the plate umpire suspended play. Games ended by darkness during an inning revert back to the score at the end of the preceding inning, thus the outcome was a 3-3 tie at O'Malley Family Field in Encino.      

Harvard-Westlake's ace right-hander Jack Flaherty threw 100 pitches over seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs with eight strikeouts, and tripled to score Jackson Grayson with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie it, 2-2, and force extra innings. The Wolverines (12-4-1, 3-1-1) are ranked No. 6 in the Southland by The Times. 

Although he didn't figure in the decision, Flaherty kept his 18-game unbeaten streak intact. He has not lost since the 2012 season.

Harvard-Westlake pulled to within 2-1 when Tyler Urbach scored from third on a fielder's choice with on out in the seventh.  

UCLA commit Nathan Hadley allowed seven hits with four strikeouts in seven innings and Julian Gonzalez pitched three innings in relief, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth for Loyola (14-1-1, 6-0-1), ranked No. 1 by The Times. Stephen Dubb batted in all three official runs for the Cubs, hitting a two-run homer in the fourth and a single in the 10th to score Armenta for a 3-2 lead.

"We've been talking about winning one-run games and I thought we had decent at-bats against Flaherty," Loyola Coach Mike Cordero said. "We put Nate up against him, so it was our best against their best and what we got was a game for the ages. I'm surprised they let us start a new inning but once we got a run I was trying to make sure we played the bottom half." 

Pinch runner Jake Bracken slid under a tag at home to tie it, 3-3, on Grayson's single in the bottom of the 10th. 

"We've known each other for a long time and it was fun for both of us," said Flaherty, who use to play together with Hadley at Sherman Oaks Little League. "I don't like to lose. On that [game-tying] at-bat my coaches and teammates were behind me. I thought we were going to win it right there, but Nathan made some good pitches." 

The Cubs had won 13 straight games since dropping their season opener to Calabasas. Harvard-Westlake used four pitchers. The teams meet again Thursday at Loyola. 

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