AZUSA, Calif. -- All good things must come to an end.
Azusa Pacific’s program-record 10 straight victories to open the season?
Senior All-American Stephen Vogt’s career-spanning streak of reaching base safely in every 9-inning game he started?
Over and done with.
Go-ahead runs produced in the clutch by junior Matt Venegas?
Overshadowed by Thomas Raymundo’s ninth-inning game-winning single up the middle that lifted Fresno Pacific to a 5-4 win, snapping the Cougars’ 10-game winning streak after Azusa Pacific pounded out 16 hits in a 15-6 win in the first game of the Wednesday double-dip.
Vogt, who went 3-for-4 in the first game to lift his season batting average to a blistering .605 and his on-base percentage to an unfathomable .700, was held hitless in 4 at-bats in the nightcap. It was the first time in Vogt’s 139-game Cougar career that he started a 9-inning game and finished it without reaching base safely, and it was just the fourth time in his career he was kept off base. The first time occurred when he went 0-for-1 off the bench in the first game of his career, and the other 2 came in 7-inning second games of GSAC Saturday doubleheaders, both of which he only made it to the plate 3 times.
Venegas, whose hit-and-run RBI single Saturday afternoon produced an 8-7 walkoff win against the NAIA’s No. 23-ranked Biola that gave the Cougars a sweep over the Eagles, just about repeated his clutch performance at the plate, stepping up to the plate with runners on second and third with 2 outs and Azusa Pacific trailing 3-2. Venegas drove a 2-run double off the right-field fence to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead that held up until the final inning.
Senior Scott Hodsdon took the complete-game loss, despite battling through to the finish after surrendering 3 runs in the first 3 innings to the Sunbirds. From the fourth through eighth innings of the nightcap, Hodsdon retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced before surrendering a ninth-inning leadoff walk to Justin Rhoades. Hodsdon slipped as he came off the mound to field Mitch Mulligan’s bunt towards second base, allowing Fresno Pacific runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the ninth, and a Joe Newton sacrifice put runners on second and third for pinch-hitter Case Rigby.
Rigby grounded out to shortstop to drive in the tying run and move Mulligan to third, and Raymundo slapped an RBI single up the middle for the go-ahead run. Fresno Pacific’s David Zizzo struck out all 3 batters he faced in the ninth inning to pick up his first save of the season.
In the first inning of the opening game, Hodsdon launched his seventh home run of the season into the lower levels of the stratosphere over the left field fence for a 3-run shot, and junior Stephen Gillette launched a 2-out, 2-run shot to left-center to give the Cougars a 5-0 lead and chase Fresno Pacific starter Josh Franco from the game after just 2/3 of an inning. The Cougars added 4 more in the third inning on freshman Javier Ochoa’s 2-out RBI single and another 2-out home-run, a 3-run line shot off the bat of senior Johnny Soberal that gave Azusa Pacific a commanding 9-1 lead after just 3 innings.
Junior lefthander Brad Boekestein tossed 7 strong innings to earn his second win of the season, striking out 7 while scattering 3 runs on 5 hits. Gillette finished a combined 6-for-7 on the day, and he was hit by pitch twice. Junior Eddie Crespo posted multiple hits in each game of the doubleheader, knocking 5 singles in 8 at-bats on the day to lift his season batting average to .448. Freshman Rod Wilson smacked his first home run of the year, a solo shot to left-center in the third inning of the nightcap.
Fresno Pacific’s Justin Crisp collected 3 extra-base hits, including an RBI double in the nightcap and solo home runs in each game, to lead the Sunbirds’ offensive attack. Before running into trouble in the sixth inning of the nightcap, Michael Mendrin gave up just 1 other hit besides Wilson’s homer, striking out 5 Cougars in the first 5 innings before departing with a 4-3 deficit with 2 outs in the sixth inning.
With the split, Azusa Pacific is now 10-1 overall, 3-1 in the GSAC, while Fresno Pacific is now 2-4 overall, 1-3 in GSAC. The Cougars continue conference play with a Saturday doubleheader visit to first-year program San Diego Christian, which posted an 18-8, 11-2 doubleheader sweep over Westmont this afternoon in Santa Barbara.