TMU Insider: Mustangs have weekend of non-stop action

Hansel Atencia (4) of The Master's University takes the ball up the court during a home match as Isaiah Hicks (13) of Bethesda chases after him on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

The weekend at Master’s evoked the title of a popular TV series from yesteryear.

Friday and Saturday were defined by threes, and plenty of company.

Friday: Josh Robison launched three home runs in one game to kick off a sweep of Marymount California University.

Saturday evening: Brooke Bailey buried several threes to keep women’s hoops competitive in a loss to Westmont College.

Saturday night: Men’s basketball beat Westmont by three to run its winning streak to 18, tying the longest streak in program history set by the 1994-95 Mustangs.

TMU’s Tim Soares scores against Westmont College at Master’s on Saturday night. Soares finished with a team-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. Photo courtesy of Darcy Brown

As for the company, a capacity crowd was on hand Saturday for a night tabbed “Stampede 2018,” when alumni were invited back for a barbecue and a hoops double-header featuring a trio of ranked teams.

“It was crazy,” said men’s basketball junior Hansel Atencia. “You enjoy playing in front of a crowd like this. … And having the (live) band here, that was kind of new. I liked it.”

Atencia finished with 18 points and four assists in NAIA No. 4 TMU’s 74-71 win over No. 20 Westmont. He scored 12 points after halftime as he took on a decidedly more aggressive role.

“When there’s a ball screen, the big guy is going to guard me,” Atencia said. “So I have to go. I have to take it.”

Tim Soares, the squad’s 6-foot-10 center, took down most of the rebounds, snagging 12 to go with a team-high 20 points. On one play in the first half, he took a Lawrence Russell bounce pass and took off for a dunk over a Warrior, drawing a foul and pleasing the raucous crowd.

Soares and Atencia combined to hit 6-of-6 free throws down the stretch to stave off Westmont’s final push, the Warriors closing within one three times in the final minute and a half but never getting over the hump.

Earlier, in the women’s game, it was Master’s that couldn’t quite close on No. 12 Westmont. The Mustangs trailed by 19 early in the second half before closing the deficit to nine late in the fourth and six in the closing seconds. Still, TMU lost 62-56 and fell to 12-5 overall and 2-3 in Golden State Athletic Conference play.

Bailey helped the Mustangs keep things interesting.

The sophomore finished the game with a career-high 22 points and six rebounds, with four three-pointers made. The Mustangs will look to make up ground in conference this week, when they host NAIA No. 2 Vanguard on Thursday night and host Hope International on Saturday night.

Both women’s games start at 5:30 p.m. at TMU’s Bross Court, with the men following at 7:30.

It’ll be lights, camera, action for the men’s game against Hope on Saturday, a contest that pits two Top-10 teams against each other. The No. 7 Royals have won 17 straight games.

It certainly was showtime at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton last Friday.

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Robison, a fourth-year Mustang, hit the first three home runs of his career and finished the day 4-for-4 with a triple and five RBIs. Master’s beat Marymount California, 15-7.

“I knew all three of them were going to go,” said Robison, who challenged Andy Martin’s TMU record of four homers in a game, set in 1992. “… It just felt good off the bat. I knew I hit it well.”

The good offensive vibes remained fresh overnight. The Mustangs came from behind to win 5-4 in Saturday’s opener, and they rolled 13-0 in the finale.

The season-opening series also had a local flair.

Hart grad Pearson Good delivered the game-tying RBI double in the eighth inning of game two. And Saugus High graduate Robert Winslow pitched four, one-hit innings for the win in the series finale. He struck out eight and walked none.

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