Catcher Anthony Espitia trotted to the mound in the sixth inning to remind Cal Lutheran pitcher Chris Matkin not to make a mistake against Peter Wilson of The Master’s College.
Espitia could have saved a trip, because Matkin knew firsthand how costly a mistake could be against Wilson. The freshman right-hander already had watched Wilson hit one home run off him Thursday.
“I wanted to pitch him outside and not give him anything to hit,” Matkin said.
Instead, Matkin hung a curve to Wilson, who doubled to the fence in right field. That double, combined with a pair of Wilson home runs, helped lead the Mustangs to a 9-5 victory over Cal Lutheran in an NAIA District 3 game at Master’s.
Matkin was the second Cal Lutheran pitcher to learn the hard way against Wilson, who hit a three-run home run over the center-field fence off senior right-hander Greg Minick in the first. Jeff Preston followed Wilson’s blast with a solo home run over the right-center-field fence as Master’s jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first inning.
Matkin relieved Minick in the first and held the Mustangs scoreless until the fifth. Wilson led off that inning with a home run over the right-field fence and the Mustangs added another run on Daren Beck’s bases-loaded walk.
Master’s scored twice in the sixth on Jeff Cole’s two-run double. Wilson doubled to open the inning and Russ Henzie walked before both scored on Cole’s double.
The Mustangs (11-19-1, 4-6 in district play) collected nine hits off three Cal Lutheran pitchers in snapping a four-game losing streak.
Cal Lutheran Coach Rich Hill said that he was pleased with Matkin’s outing despite the Mustangs’ hitting barrage.
“This is the first time he has thrown that many pitches since high school,” Hill said. “You take away two or three of his pitches and they might have scored only one run against him.”
Espitia hit two home runs and Leonard Matsumoto added three doubles to pace Cal Lutheran’s nine-hit attack. The Kingsmen (18-9, 9-2) have lost two consecutive games after winning five in a row.
Cal Lutheran scored its first two runs on Espitia’s home run in the second and Daren Cornell’s homer over the left-field fence in the fourth. The Kingsmen added two more runs in the sixth on Espitia’s home run to left.
With Master’s leading, 9-4, Cal Lutheran loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. But after Espitia scored a run with a sacrifice fly, Cornell grounded out to end the threat.
Senior right-hander Eric Peterson (4-0) gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings to pick up the win.
Master’s Coach Pat Harrison said that the Mustangs need to win their 11 remaining district games to qualify for the playoffs.
“The win was really important for us,” Harrison said. “There is not much leeway for us the rest of the way. We have to win them all.”