RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Senior catcher Ryan Delgado hit a 2-run fourth-inning home run that gave Azusa Pacific a 2-1 lead, but California Baptist rallied for 8 runs in the bottom of the inning, shutting out the Cougars the rest of the way in a 13-2 victory.
California Baptist tallied 21 hits, only 3 of which went for extra bases, off 6 Azusa Pacific pitchers, collecting a third of their game hit total in an 8-run explosion in the bottom of the fourth inning. Every Lancer starter hit safely, led by 3-hit performances from cleanup hitter Zach Hedges and shortstop Garrett Rau. Eleven batters came to the plate in the fourth for California Baptist, with the Lancers registering 4 straight singles to start the inning. Jake Johnson capped the scoring with a 1-out, 3-run home run to left field, the only extra-base hit in the frame, to give California Baptist a 9-2 lead.
For the second straight day, Azusa Pacific was limited to 2 runs on 5 hits, this time by junior righthander Drew Madrigal, who struck out the side in the top of the fifth inning and retired 13 of the next 17 Cougar batters after surrendering Delgado’s 2-run shot to straightaway center field.
Azusa Pacific starter Tim Nolan, a senior righthander making his first pitching appearance of the season, worked out of a first-inning jam with just 1 run of damage. After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Marnati, who stole second and advanced to third on a balk, Nolan induced a sacrifice fly for the first out and navigated his way out of a hit-batsman and an error to escape the opening inning with Azusa Pacific trailing just 1-0.
Freshman righthander Cameron Ross gave up 3 hits in the next 2 innings, but he kept the Lancers off the scoreboard until Delgado’s fourth-inning blast gave Azusa Pacific its short-lived 2-1 lead. After the 8-run fourth, California Baptist plated 1 in the sixth, 2 in the seventh and another in the eighth for the final 13-2 margin.
The loss, Azusa Pacific’s seventh straight road defeat, drops the Cougars to 8-10 overall and 1-9 in GSAC play. California Baptist, tied for the GSAC lead with Vanguard, improves to 20-5 overall, 9-1 GSAC. Saturday’s 11 a.m. doubleheader in Azusa wraps up the 4-game series between the teams.