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An Ace Up Their Sleeve

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March 3, 2010
Joe Reinsch
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AZUSA, Calif. -- Junior lefthander Peter Gehle fired a 12-strikeout complete game to help the NAIA’s No. 17-ranked Azusa Pacific snap a 4-game losing streak with a 14-4 win Wednesday afternoon over Biola in the first game of this week’s 4-game Golden State Athletic Conference series.

Gehle surrendered all 4 Biola runs on 3 swings of the bat, the last 2 on back-to-back solo home runs to lead off the top of the sixth inning. He then retired 12 of the final 13 Eagles batters to close out the victory, the Cougar pitching staff’s first complete game of the season. In 9 innings, Gehle scattered 4 runs on 8 hits and didn’t issue any walks.

Senior first baseman Brice Cutspecsnapped out of a 5-for-22 slump over the previous 6 games with a 3-home run power display, finishing 4-for-5 on the afternoon with hits in his final 4 at-bats. In the bottom of the third inning, senior third baseman Ryan Delgado and Cutspec hit back-to-back home runs to give Azusa Pacific its first lead of the game, 4-2. Two innings later, the Cougars posted a 5-run fifth on the strength of 3 Cougar longballs, including another Cutspec solo shot, his second of the game.

In the top of the sixth, Biola trimmed the lead to 9-4 when Vinnie Fayard and Trevor Blood hit back-to-back solo shots to lead off the frame, but Gehle got a pair of groundouts and another strikeout to maintain a 5-run cushion. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth, Cutspec cleared the bases with a mammoth shot to right field, smashing the first pitch he saw from Biola reliever Karl Stuck to push the lead to 12-4.

Biola jumped out to a 2-0 lead 2 batters into the game when Garrett Leon hit a 2-run home run following Boone Farrington’s leadoff double. Gehle allowed just 4 Eagle baserunners over the next 4 innings until Fayard and Blood led off the sixth with back-to-back home runs.

Cutspec led Azusa Pacific’s 19-hit attack, and junior rightfielder Virgil Chavira also turned in a 4-hit performance with 2 doubles in his first game of the season batting leadoff for the Cougars. Delgado and junior centerfielder Josh Leite were each 2-for-4 with a home run, and freshman Daniel Gonzales came off the bench for a pinch-hit 3-run home run to cap the Cougars’ 5-run fifth inning.

Biola was led by 2-hit performances from Fayard and Rucky McKinley, with all 4 runs coming off the home runs hit by Leon, Fayard and Blood.

Azusa Pacific improves to 8-5 overall, 1-4 GSAC, while Biola drops to 7-4 overall and 1-3 in GSAC play. The 4-game series between the teams continues with another 2 p.m. matchup in Azusa on Thursday (March 4), before shifting to La Mirada for Saturday’s 11 a.m. doubleheader at Biola.