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Pacific snaps losing streak

BASEBALL: Boxers end a six-game losing skid with back-to-back road wins over Menlo

Pacific's up and down baseball season continued last week with spotty play and unpredictable results on a six-game road swing.

The Boxers dropped a doubleheader at Bethany (Calif.) last Wednesday to extend their losing streak to six games. Pacific bounced back with a sweep of Menlo on Friday, but went right back in the tank with two losses to that same Menlo team on Saturday.

The high point of Pacific's Bay Area road trip was Friday's sweep of Menlo. The Boxers (8-17, 2-10) posted a come-from-behind 5-4 win in the opener, then coasted to a 9-5 triumph in the nightcap.

Menlo led 4-0 heading into the eighth inning of Game 1, but Pacific was able to storm back and erase the deficit. Jeff Johnston slammed a bases-loaded triple to narrow the gap to 4-3, and Ryan Bailey singled home Johnston to tie the game. Kyle Barksdale gave Pacific its first lead of the game in the top of the ninth with a solo home run. Freshman pitcher Rory Prunella pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and earned the win in his first collegiate appearance.

The Boxers wasted little time jumping on top in Game 2. Nick McNeely hit a leadoff home run in the second inning and Frankie Guros added an RBI single later in the frame. Pacific got three more runs in the third on a single by Johnston, a triple from Bailey and an RBI groundout.

Menlo would get as close as 5-3 in the sixth, but RBI singles by Johnston and McNeely gave the Boxers some cushion down the stretch. Andrew Curtin earned the win for Pacific, pitching 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Nate McBride and Barksdale.

A day after being swept by the visiting Boxers, Menlo exacted its revenge with a doubleheader sweep of its own. The Oaks posted a 4-2 victory in Game 1 and a 9-5 win in Game 2.

Menlo came from behind in the opener, erasing a 2-1 Pacific lead in the eighth. Robert McDonald and Matt Medina each had RBI singles in the eighth to put Menlo in front, and Scott Bowman finished things on the hill. Bowman logged a complete game eight-hitter, allowing just one earned run. Pacific senior Derek Haner matched Bowman with a complete game of his own, but Haner took the loss, allowing four runs on nine hits.

In the second game, Menlo bashed three home runs to build a 7-0 lead by the end of the fourth inning. McDonald hit a two-run homer to right-center field in the second inning, giving Menlo a 3-0 advantage. Medina hit a three-run bomb in the fourth and Will McLoughlin added a solo shot later in the frame to make it a seven-run lead.

Pacific narrowed the gap with a four-run sixth inning, but Menlo pulled away with single runs in the sixth and seventh. Blaine Knuth took the loss for Pacific, giving up seven runs in five innings. Robbie Nelson got the win for Menlo with 5 2/3 innings of strong work. Nelson struck out six and surrendered just five hits.

Pacific will return to Northwest Conference play this week with a doubleheader against Lewis and Clark on Friday and a single game against the Pioneers on Saturday. The series will be played in Portland.