AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific rolled to victories number 5 and 6 to start the 2007 campaign with a 9-2, 10-0 doubleheader sweep over NAIA independent Bethany Saturday afternoon, thanks to home runs in each game from senior Scott Hodsdon and sophomore Stephen Gillette.
With the home runs, Gillette has now gone deep 6 times in as many games to start the season, while Hodsdon comes in just behind with 5 home runs. Hodsdon also picked up his second victory of the season after striking out 8 in 7 innings of work in the Cougars’ 9-2 Game 1 victory.
Junior second baseman Galen Komo singled with 1 out in the third, stole second, then scored on junior Eddie Crespo’s RBI double to the gap in left-center. After J.P. LaPointe evened the game at 1-1 with a solo home run off Hodsdon in the top of the fourth, the Cougars came right back, plating a pair on Gillette’s home run over the right field fence.
With a 3-1 lead, Hodsdon mowed down the Bethany side of the fifth, and the Cougar offense went right back to work. The first 4 Azusa Pacific batters in the bottom of the fifth each hit safely and scored, starting with another Komo single, 1 of 6 on the day for him, followed by another Crespo double. Senior Stephen Vogt singled down the left field line to bring them both in for a 5-1 lead, and Hodsdon followed it up with his fourth home run of the season to give the Cougars a 7-1 lead.
It appeared Bethany would come back with yet another counter-punch, loading the bases with just 1 out in the top of the sixth, but Hodsdon induced a run-scoring groundout to first base, then froze Spencer Frantz to end the inning with the sixth of his 8 strikeouts.
Azusa Pacific added single runs in the sixth and seventh, and junior lefthander Zach Pettikas struck out 3 in 2 innings of relief work to seal the 9-2 win.
In the nightcap, sophomore southpaw Jonny Bravo struck out 6 in 6 scoreless innings, and the Cougar offense tagged Bethany starter Dave Raichardt for 8 runs in the first 4 innings before cruising to a 10-0 victory.
It was Komo once again who got things rolling with a 1-out infield single in the bottom of the first, and Vogt and Hodsdon hit back-to-back home runs to give the Cougars a quick 3-0 lead. Sophomore centerfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled down the right field line to keep the rally going, and with 2 outs, Gillette crushed the third home run of the inning to give Azusa Pacific a commanding 5-0 lead after just 1 inning.
Komo was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, then scored on Hodsdon’s RBI double to left center, his ninth extra-base hit of the season. Hodsdon came around to score to give the Cougars an 8-0 lead after 4 innings. Junior Matt Venegas and sophomore David Parsons each drove in runs in the bottom of the sixth to provide the final margin for Azusa Pacific.
Komo finished the day with 6 hits in 7 at-bats on the day to lead the Cougar sweep. LaPointe was the only Bethany batter to hit safely in each game.
With the wins, Azusa Pacific improves to 6-0 on the season, while Bethany drops to 2-4. The Cougars continue non-conference action when they host Whittier Feb. 6 at 6 p.m., their final tune-up before opening conference play with a Feb. 10 doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. against perennial GSAC power Biola.