The victory was fourth season-opening win for the Wildcats under fifth-year head coach Andy Lopez and marked the 12th time in the last 13 seasons that UA has opened its year with a victory.
“I’m happy with the way the players responded,” Lopez said. “We got down early, but the team didn’t panic. We had a number of guys step up in key situations and we battled back.
“It was a pretty sloppy game and it looked like both schools were playing for the first time this year, but I expect Loyola to play much better tomorrow and I hope we do too.”
Trailing 5-2 after three innings, the Wildcats used a four-run fourth inning for a one-run advantage and added one in the seventh and three in the eighth for eight unanswered runs and the victory.
The offensive rally made a winner of sophomore Eric Berger (1-0), who gave up five runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits over five innings of work. Redshirt freshman Daniel Schlereth tossed four no-hit innings the rest of the way to earn his first career save. Both
Junior Colt Sedbrook started the come-from-behind win with a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth. He advanced to third on a one-out error off of the bat of freshman T.J. Steele and scored on a Bill Rhinehart single to right in the next at-bat.
Senior Brad Boyer scored Steele from third to cut the LMU advantage to 5-4 and advanced Rhinehart to third on fielding miscue by LMU’s Michael Glomb. Junior Jason Donald handed
Donald, who finished the night 2 for 5 with a game-high three RBI, led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple to left center. He was rewarded with a trip home to push the UA lead to 7-5 on a one-out single by junior Konrad Schmidt.
Freshman Jon Gaston made an early impression in the bottom of the eighth when he crushed the first collegiate pitch thrown to him over the right field fence for a solo home run. Boyer added another run in the frame on a wild pitch after reaching on LMU’s fourth error in the game and stealing second and third.
Donald, Schmidt and Sedbrook all finished with a pair of hits in the game and Boyer led all players with three runs scored and two stolen bases out of the leadoff spot.
LMU’s Brad Meyers (1-0) was charged with the loss after giving up six runs, three earned, on six hits over five innings.
The two schools will meet for the second game of the three-game set on Saturday at 1 p.m. Freshman Mike Colla will make his first collegiate start on the mound for the Wildcats.