AZUSA, Calif. -- The Azusa Pacific pitching staff produced its highest single-game strikeout total since the 2007 season when a trio of Cougars combined for 13 strikeouts in a season-opening 6-2 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Wednesday night in Azusa.
Senior All-GSAC lefthander Peter Gehle started and struck out 6 batters in 4.1 innings, and senior righthander Ian Kelly set down 7 Stags in a 4-inning save. Senior righthander Garrett Granitz picked up the win by retiring a pair of batters with the game tied at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning. The trio scattered 4 total hits, and both Claremont runs were unearned.
Senior first baseman Brice Cutspec, the Azusa Pacific single-season and career home run record holder, recorded his first longball of the season in the first inning. With a runner on and 2 outs, Cutspec crushed a 1-2 offering over the center-field fence some 400 feet from home plate to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Claremont pulled even in the top of the third, cashing in Brian Gose’s leadoff double with Jason Rehhaut’s 1-out sacrifice fly, although Gehle struck out a pair to keep the game tied at 2-2. In the bottom of the fifth, junior second baseman Virgil Chavira and sophomore shortstop recorded back-to-back 2-out singles, and freshman rightfielder Danny Gonzales brought them both around to score with a 2-run double into the right-field corner.
Cutspec’s leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth sparked another 2-run inning that provided the rest of the game’s scoring. Junior designated hitter Josh Leite scored Cutspec from third with a single through the right side, and Leite later scored on a wild pitch for the final 6-2 margin.
Cutspec, Soyring, and junior leftfielder Anthony Delgado tallied 2 hits each to pace the Cougars’ 9-hit attack, with Delgado recording a pair of doubles. Two of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ 4 hits came off the bat of reserve catcher Peter Kimmey in a 2-for-2 effort that included a seventh-inning double that put runners on second and third with no outs before Kelly struck out 3 straight batters to escape the jam.
Azusa Pacific has now won 14 consecutive season-openers, including all 7 under current head coach Paul Svagdis, and the Cougars return to action with a 1 p.m. visit to La Sierra University on Friday, Feb. 5. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps opens the campaign with a loss to drop to 0-1.