“They did a good job coming out and swinging the bats,” St. Francis Coach Brian Esquival said. “It’s not like we walked anybody or made any errors behind [Malham]. They came out and swung the bats and you’ve gotta tip your hat to ’em.”
La Cañada Flintridge resident Angelo La Bruna led off the game with a single and was tripled home by Dan Haley for a 1-0 lead.
Kevin Swick, who also resides in La Cañada, then drove in Haley with a single to center field.
Xavier Borde kept the rally going with a bloop to left field that dropped between three converging Golden Knights and he and Swick scored on a triple deep into the right-field corner off the bat of Dan Hayes.
Malham retired the next three batters in order, although one of those outs was a sacrifice fly to right field by Alex Campos to plate Hayes for a 5-0 lead.
Loyola (17-9, 6-4 in league) went up, 6-0, in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Swick, but St. Francis (12-12, 2-7) got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the second inning when David Hubinger and David Olmedo-Barrera led off the frame with a single and double, respectively.
Hubinger scored on a balk and Olmedo-Barrera came home one batter later on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Yu.
But any momentum shift the Golden Knights might have hoped to affect never materialized, as Loyola went up, 7-2, in the top of the fourth inning when La Bruna scored on a wild pitch with one out and the Cubs were able to extend the inning with two outs against reliever Chris Longo.
Borde doubled, the next two Cubs batters walked to load the bases and Campos cleared them with a double laced over third base and deep into the left-field corner.
St. Francis added a run in the fifth on a single by Mark Saatzer to plate JP Nolan and the Golden Knights scored twice in the bottom of the seventh on a single by John Moe and a groundout by TJ Armand.
Glendale resident Greg Astor got the win for Loyola, tossing five inning and allowing two earned runs.
“I thought we kind of got down a little bit and didn’t compete and fight as much as I would like to have seen,” said Esquival, whose team plays at Loyola on Friday and concludes the regular season with a pair of games against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame next week. “We’re pretty close [to playoffs] right now. I don’t want to say we have to win the next three, but we’ve got to win some more games to even have a sniff of it.”