Baseball - Sat, Apr. 25, 2009
ORANGE, Calif. – An offensive shortage proved to be costly as Menlo College wasted a golden pitching performance by senior Matt Simpson in a 2-1 loss to Redlands at the Chapman Tournament on Friday afternoon.
Simpson limited the Bulldogs (23-12, 12-6 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) to one earned run on four hits, striking out five batters and walking one. However, a sixth-inning throwing error gifted Redlands one of its two runs in the inning and the Oaks bats couldn’t solve the Bulldogs pitching trio of Nolan Nicholson, Kevin Bissell and Derek Johnson.
Nicholson went seven innings to pick up the victory, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out four and walking three. Bissell and Johnson combined to throw two hitless innings with the latter earning the save.
Menlo’s entire offensive output came on one swing of the bat when senior right fielder Robbie Nelson led off the fifth inning with a home run. It was Nelson’s fifth homer and 20th RBI of the season, but also the last hit of the day for the Oaks. Designated hitter Kyle Wilkerson walked in the sixth inning and third baseman John Franco reached on an error in the ninth to become Menlo’s final two base runners of the day.
The Oaks only legitimate threat of the game came in the second inning. Senior second baseman Rob Monderine singled with one out, moved to second base on a Ty Finley ground out and to third on a Nelson single. With two out and runners at the corners, Eric Dawson grounded out to first base to end the inning.
Redlands got its decisive rally started with a no-out throwing error by third baseman Jerrod McGrew. Back-to-back singles by Manny Cardeiro and Corey Vane loaded the bases still with no outs recorded. Jordan Snider drove in a pair of runs with the Bulldogs third straight base hit for a 2-1 lead that held. Simpson did his best to wriggle out of the jam with a ground out, fly out and strike out by consecutive batters.
Nelson led the Oaks at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI to raise his season average to .455. Monderine had the one single, Wilkerson walked twice and Shane Parsons once.
Menlo falls to 16-17 on the season and faces local foe Cal State East Bay on Saturday at 3 p.m. also in Orange, Calif.