AZUSA, Calif. -- It was business as usual Thursday afternoon for the Azusa Pacific baseball team, which moved into sole possession of first place in the Golden State Athletic Conference with a 19-5 victory over visiting Vanguard to sweep the midweek series with the Lions after yesterday’s 3-2 win in Costa Mesa.
The Cougars, who have scored at least a run per inning in all but 1 of their victories so far this season, sent 15 batters to the plate in a 10-run third inning, kicked off by a Stephen Vogt double to left that brought in Matt Venegas. Scott Hodsdon and Kirk Nieuwenhuis drew back-to-back walks, and the floodgates opened when Stephen Gillette and Eddie Crespo knocked back-to-back singles to give Azusa Pacific a 6-0 lead. Galen Komo’s 2-run single to left gave the Cougars an 8-0 lead, and Vogt drove in his second run of the inning with a single to center that pushed the lead to 9-0. Hodsdon drew a bases-loaded walk for the eighth run of the inning, and Brice Cutspec wrapped up the scoring with a 2-run single up the middle.
In all, the Cougars scored 10 runs in the inning on 7 hits and a pair of Vanguard errors, and they added 7 more runs over the next 4 innings for the final 19-run tally.
Seven of Azusa Pacific’s 9 starters each collected 2 hits, including Crespo, who has hit safely in 5 of his last 6 at-bats and driven in 8 runs during that same stretch. Crespo singled in his first 2 at-bats and drew 3 walks.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the first, Hodsdon knocked a 2-run home run, his eighth of the season, over the left field fence to give Azusa Pacific an early 2-0 lead. Hodsdon, who also started on the mound, struck out 7 batters in 6 innings of work to pick up his third win of the season.
Vogt’s 2-for-4 performance raised his team-high batting average to .492, while 2-hit days from Crespo, Cutspec, Gillette and Komo put 5 Cougar hitters above the .400 mark for the season.
With the victory, Azusa Pacific improves to 16-1 overall, 9-1 in the GSAC, while Vanguard drops to 4-5 overall and in GSAC. The Cougars visit Point Loma Nazarene for an 11 a.m. doubleheader on Saturday, March 3.