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Lions' loss is a throwaway

March 24, 2006|By Dave Thorpe

COSTA MESA ? It wasn't exactly the birthday present Jason Machado was looking for, but it's better than nothing.

The Vanguard University baseball team's freshman right fielder, who turned 19 on Thursday, celebrated by throwing out three Concordia baserunners, including two at home plate. But the Lions' offense didn't take advantage of the few opportunities they had and fell, 2-0, in a Golden State Athletic Conference game.

Vanguard (12-14, 5-11 in conference) went scoreless in back-to-back games against Concordia after losing, 5-0, on Wednesday in Irvine.

The Lions had six hits in each game against the Eagles (16-8-1, 10-6) ? all singles. On Wednesday, Eagles starter John Tundis stymied the Lions and ran his record to 5-0.

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Thursday, it was Cody Wilkinson's turn. The 6-foot-5 senior hurled 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball and improved to 3-2 this season. Andrew Soto pitched the last 2 2/3 innings for the Eagles.

So was it the sharp pitching of Concordia or the slumping bats of Vanguard that led to 18 straight innings of scoreless baseball?

"It was a combination of both," Vanguard Coach Scott Mallernee said. "We haven't been hitting the ball well, but they've been pitching really well ? keeping the ball down and spotting pitches."

Machado, the birthday boy, went 1 for 4 but struck out three times. He made up for it in the field, though.

In the second inning, Concordia had runners on first and third and one out when Brett Shaw hit a long line drive to right field. Machado made the catch on the run and gunned down Charlie Douglas at the plate.

In the top of the sixth inning, Concordia's Nick Lentine opened with a single and was on third when Brent Dohling hit a lazy fly ball to right field. Machado made the catch and again Eagles' third-base coach Steve Allyn sent the runner. Lentine lumbered home and Machado threw him out by a couple of yards.

In the top of the eighth inning, Machado threw out Lentine again, this time at third base when he tried to take the extra base on a single by Brandon Kawal.

Concordia added a run later in the inning to take a 2-0 lead, but Machado's three assists in right field kept the Lions within striking distance.

"The opportunities just came up in the outfield today," Machado said. "I didn't really bring the intensity I needed to the plate today, so I tried to bring it out to the field."

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