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College Baseball: Lions lose focus, bested by Cougars

No. 14-ranked Vanguard loses second straight, now focuses on GSAC stretch run.

April 09, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

The Vanguard University baseball team that had won 13 of its previous 17 games, climbed to the No. 14 national ranking, and landed in second place in the Golden State Athletic Conference, was largely missing in action on Wednesday.

Coach Rob Pegg's Lions, who are two games behind San Diego Christian heading into a three-game road series with the No. 6-ranked Hawks beginning Friday, were hardly themselves in a 7-3 nonconference loss to the Cougars.

Vanguard (26-14) ranks No. 2 in the GSAC in fielding (.974), but made four errors on Wednesday, including three in a disastrous second inning in which San Marcos scored four runs, three unearned. Another bobble on an apparent single to center field that appeared to allow a runner to reach second, could have easily been ruled an error, but was not.

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Lions' starting pitcher Richard Perry, a senior right-hander, entered the game ranked 10th in the GSAC in earned-run average (3.40 in 11 appearances against GSAC foes), gave up eight hits and two earned runs (five overall) in four innings to fall to 3-3. Perry, who did some admirable damage control by stranding runners at second and third with no outs in the third inning and leaving a leadoff double holding the bag in the first, saw his overall ERA increase from 3.88 to 3.93.

And while the Vanguard offense did its share with 10 hits, including at least one from seven starters, it left 10 men on base, had a runner thrown out at the plate and another runner gunned down at third (both on singles to the outfield).

Further, Lions pinch-runner Justin Davis appeared to have a golden opportunity to score from third on a bouncing ball to the second baseman, on which he held, with one out in the eight inning. The would-be run, which would have cut the deficit to 6-4 at the time, was left unclaimed when the next hitter flew out to end the inning.

"We just weren't sharp," said Pegg, who did have positives to point toward, including a handful of defensive gems, senior catcher John Collins' three-for-four day at the plate, and some quality relief pitching (two runs allowed in five combined innings). "We had three miscues consecutively in the one inning and [the Cougars] capitalized. And we made a few mistakes on the basepaths, too. It was one of those days that happen. You'd rather it to happened in a nonconference game than a conference game, but you'd rather it not happen at all."

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