AZUSA, Calif. -- Senior catcher Ryan Delgado hit 2 home runs and 2 doubles to lead Azusa Pacific to its fourth straight victory, this time a 12-7 win over Concordia at the Cougar Baseball Complex Thursday night.
Delgado opened his 4-for-5 night with a 2-out double down the left-field line in the Cougars’ 5-run first inning, and he smashed a 3-run homer to left-center with 1 out in another 5-run frame in the bottom of the second. Most impressive, however, was his leadoff at-bat in the bottom of the sixth, after Concordia had scraped together 7 runs over 4 innings to pull within 10-7.
Delgado crushed a 1-0 offering from Concordia righthander Steve Barrington down the left field line for an apparent tape-measure solo shot, but with Delgado already rounding first base the home-plate umpire ruled the ball foul. Delgado stood in stunned disbelief for several seconds midway between first and second, trying to process that a solo home run that should have given his team a 4-run cushion was now a foul ball that evened the count at 1-1. After fouling the next pitch back with a massive cut, Delgado took another ball for a 2-2 count, then hammered Barrington’s next pitch out of the park to left-center field, getting the home run he should have had 3 pitches earlier and officially pushing the lead to 11-7.
The Cougars added 1 more in the sixth on freshman left fielder Trevor Lothrop’s opposite-field single to left-center, giving Azusa Pacific a 12-7 cushion. Junior righthander Michael Oeser threw 3 scoreless innings of relief and senior Garrett Hodges tossed a scoreless ninth to preserve the win.
Delgado wasn’t the only Cougar with a big day at the plate, as every starter who batted hit safely with the third through eighth hitters notching at least 2 hits in Azusa Pacific’s 19-hit offensive outburst. In addition to Delgado’s 4-hit effort, seniors Brice Cutspec and Chris Feicht and freshman third baseman Jason Plowman each tallied 3 hits, while Lothrop and junior centerfielder Josh Leite collected 2 hits apiece.
Senior lefthander Peter Gehle notched his fifth win of the year, scattering 7 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits over innings before giving way to Oeser in the sixth. Concordia’s offense was led by third baseman Danny Casey, who was 4-for-5 with 2 RBIs.
With wins in the first 2 games of this week’s 4-game set against Concordia, Azusa Pacific improves to 12-14 overall, 5-13 GSAC, and the Cougars are now just 1 game out of sixth place in the conference behind Concordia and The Master’s. Concordia, now 15-14 overall and 6-12 GSAC, hosts the Cougars in Irvine Saturday at noon for a GSAC doubleheader.