TMU baseball extends win streak to 12 games

Riding an 11-game winning streak, The Master’s University baseball team looked solid against Bethesda as starting pitcher Robert Winslow struck out the top of the lineup to begin the game at Lou Herwaldt Stadium on Thursday.

Allowing 4-of-7 hits and striking out 11 batters on the day, Winslow set the tone early and let his teammates take care of the rest in a 15-4 win over Bethesda to keep the streak alive.

“Honestly, our hitters did exactly what we were expecting them to,” Winslow said. “They have been keeping it up. Just focusing on that and our fielding.”

Heading into the bottom of the second inning, Winslow struck out as many batters as he faced (six) allowing for a big bottom half of the inning.

Junior outfielder Roy Verdejo led off the second, beating out the shortstop’s throw to first base. He then stole third and a Will Batz RBI single later scored the first run of the game, giving the Mustangs (24-9-1 overall, 16-6 in Golden State Athletic Conference) and 1-0 lead.

Two batters later, Batz stole third and scored on an errant throw to third base for TMU’s second run.

Kameron Quitno, Byron Smith and Ryan Bricker all singled to load the bases for Max Maitland. Maitland hit a single scoring Quitno, loading the bases once again.

Aaron Shackelford hit a double to bring in Smith and Bricker scored on an error by the Bethesda (11-14-1, 0-0-1) first baseman.

This was a theme throughout the day as the visitors finished the day committing three errors.

Anthony Lepre ended the scoring in the inning for the Mustangs hitting a sacrifice-fly ball bringing in Maitland to take a 6-0 lead.

“We want to get out and get ahead early so everybody can get in,” Shackelford said. “It was good to see everybody get in and it was a good tone-setter.”

Winslow continued his dominance into the third, striking out two out of three batters he faced. Through three innings of work, Winslow had a no-hitter going, tallying eight K’s.

TMU added another run in the third on an RBI double by Bricker.

After walking Bethesda’s leadoff batter in the fourth, Winslow’s no-hit bid ended as Cody Vienna doubled to center and one batter later, the shutout came to a close after Tyler Rios grounded out to third base scoring Chris Carpio from third.

Winslow shrugged it off and struck out the next batter and got out of the inning after a Dylan Schafe pop up.

As if the Mustangs took offense in allowing a run to cross the plate, Shackelford belted a ball over the right field wall by about 10 feet and giving TMU its seven-run lead back at 8-1.

Winslow ran into some more trouble loading the bases for Carpio, who hit a two-run double into center field to cut the TMU lead to 8-3.

Just like he did the inning prior, Winslow collected himself and struck out the following two batters to end the inning, leaving two batters stranded on base to end his day.

Winslow finished pitching five innings gave up three earned runs on seven hits and struck out 11 on the way to his eighth win of the season.

“He’s been a stalworth the whole spring here and he’s had a good career here,” said TMU head coach Monte Brooks. “When he’s on the mound it’s almost like the Dodgers having Kershaw, so I’m really encouraged with his aggression. We want to throw to contact, if they swing and miss, they swing and miss. We want him to work speedily and keep these guys in it and he did.”

With two outs, the Mustangs’ Bricker, Maitland, Shackelford and Lepre reached base safely, each bringing in a run ballooning the TMU lead to 12-3 after five innings of play.

Grant Collins came on to relieve Winslow and did a masterful job, throwing three innings and giving up three hits, striking out three and allowing one earned run.

TMU added two more runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI sacrifice fly by Quito and Shackelford was walked, bringing in Jeremiah Farris for his fourth and final RBI of the night.

“We have been hot so we didn’t want to lay down in this game,” Shackelford said. “Before the game, we said we wanted to win every pitch and I think we did a pretty good job. I mean, we took some pitches off, but for the most part we won most of the pitches, so we are excited for it.”

Nick Tuttle brought in the final run of the game for the Master’s in the seventh inning on a fielder’s choice single.

Bethesda added one more run in the top of the eight, but couldn’t muster anything else with Nick Brooks on the mound for the final three out and fell for the second straight game.

“We came out swinging the bats right away and put runs up on the board,” said TMU head coach Monte Brooks. “That always gives you a little bit of freedom to relax on the defensive end. Our whole goal is to win pitches one at a time, so that’s been the goal from day one. We believe that that has been helpful.”

Both teams face off tomorrow in the second game of the four-game series at 3 p.m. at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.

“It goes back to one pitch at a time,” Brooks said. “It’s really remarkable, I don’t care who you are to have a 12-game win streak. Especially in our league and in our area Southern California. These guys are baseball players, so it’s been a remarkable run and I’m excited for the rest of the weekend.”

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