SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific continued its tear through the GSAC, scoring 28 runs in a doubleheader sweep over Westmont Saturday afternoon, the most runs scored in a doubleheader since torching Westmont for 50 runs late in the 2004 campaign.
The Cougars tied a season-high with a 10-run inning in their 21-2 win in the opener, then posted its fifth shutout of the year, 7-0, in the nightcap. The 5 shutouts ties the most in a single season in program history since the 1978 Cougars recorded 9 shutouts.
Azusa Pacific remains in first place in the GSAC with a 6-game cushion over second-place Point Loma Nazarene, which swept Fresno Pacific this afternoon to keep pace with the Cougars.
Westmont led for 3 innings of the first game, but Stephen Gillette’s sixth-inning leadoff home run, the only longball of the day for the Cougars, sparked a 6-run inning that gave Azusa Pacific a commanding 10-2 lead. In the top of the eighth, the Cougars sent a season-high 16 batters to the plate in a 10-run outburst that tied a season-high for a single inning set in a 19-5 home win over Vanguard March 1.
Scott Hodsdon set the Azusa Pacific single-season RBI record, driving in single runs in each game to break the previous record of 69 shared by Chuck Van Schoych (1974) and current Cougar assistant coach Justin Duarte (1998). Hodsdon tied the record with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly in the first game, then wasted no time establishing the mark in the nightcap with another sacrifice fly in a 3-run first inning.
On the day, both Hodsdon and Stephen Vogt went 5-for-7 with 2 RBIs, and each also drew at least 1 base on balls.
In the first game, 13 batters hit safely in the Cougars’ 22-hit attack, with Hodsdon and Grant Beyer leading the way with 3 hits apiece. Vogt paced Azusa Pacific’s 10-hit effort in the nightcap with a 3-for-3 performance that raised his season batting average to .471.
Jonny Bravo scattered a pair of runs on 5 hits while striking out 5 to earn the win in the first game, and Garrett Lebsock and Ryan Zaft combined for 3 scoreless innings of relief to wrap up the game.
In the 7-inning nightcap, Zach Pettikas earned the win with 4 innings of 2-hit ball, combining with Brad Boekestein and Hodsdon on the shutout. Hodsdon struck out a pair in 2 innings of relief, and he extended his scoreless inning streak to 29 2/3 consecutive innings, a streak that spans his last 10 appearances.
With the sweep, Azusa Pacific improves to 37-4 overall, 25-3 in GSAC play, and the Cougars extended their winning streaks to 17 straight overall and 14 straight in conference play. Westmont , which drops to 5-31 overall and 3-25 in GSAC, has lost 14 straight overall and 11 straight conference contests. Azusa Pacific is back in action to host Vanguard at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. The Cougars then visit the Lions the next afternoon in a midweek home-and-away GSAC series before second-place Point Loma Nazarene visits the Azusa Pacific campus for a Saturday, April 21 doubleheader showdown.