Lowell sophomore Jack Schonherr’s complete game three-hitter powered the Cardinals to a 1-0 win over the Mission Bears at USF’s Benedetti Diamond on Wednesday, settling the regular-season Academic Athletic Association title race.
Schonherr struck out just one batter over the course of the afternoon, but managed to only walk one, never allowing a runner past second en route to his sixth win of the year. C.J. Pino wasn’t too far off Schonherr’s mark, allowing just one run on six hits, but Lowell (18-5, 13-1 AAA) was able to string together three singles in the fifth to score the game’s lone run.
Sophomore Philippe Astier started the rally by sending an 0-2 pitch into left field, and catcher Jordy Bach followed with a hit of his own. Another sophomore, Shane Stanley, deposited a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and Cameron Tang snuck a fair ball down the line at third to put the Cardinals ahead.
Pino struck out six and walked just one, but Mission (11-12, 9-4) was only able to get one man into scoring position all day, coming in the fourth when Asantay Wilson delivered a two-out single and advanced to second on an error. Unfazed, Schonherr got Will Cohen to fly out to center to end the threat.
The only baserunner the Bears would get after Lowell took the lead came on another two-out single, this one from Ahkeem Lewis in the sixth. Freshman Declan Mercos-Weiss flew out to left to end the inning, and Schonherr retired Wilson, Cohen and Zeke Bellino in the seventh to end the game.
Having met in last year’s championship game, the Bears and Cardinals showed that they have the pitching to get back to the big stage, and they have the inside track for a rematch with the top two spots in Division 1, earning first-round byes in the six-team tournament. Washington beat Lincoln 6-2 on Wednesday to take a one-game lead for third place, with Thursday’s rematch settling the race. The Mustangs and Eagles are in line to face the top two teams from Division 2 in the quarterfinals, with Wallenberg and Leadership currently holding those spots.