LEWISTON, Idaho -- Azusa Pacific suffered its second straight 4-run loss to the NAIA’s top-ranked Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) College, again spotting the Warriors to a big early lead before finally getting the offense rolling too late in a 5-1 defeat in the second game of this week’s 4-game series.
Lewis-Clark State starter Tyrell Poggemeyer limited the Cougars to a lone run in the sixth inning after scattering just 3 hits over 5 scoreless frames to start the game. Right-handed reliever Cody Fassold picked up where Poggemeyer left off, striking out 4 batters and allowing just 1 hit over the final 3 innings to earn the save.
Junior centerfielder Josh Leite was Azusa Pacific’s only player with more than 1 hit, and he drove in the Cougars’ lone run in the sixth inning with a 2-out single up the middle. Leite also led off the second with a double, but he was forced out on a sacrifice bunt attempt before an inning-ending line-out double play to center field ended the threat.
Five consecutive Lewis-Clark State hitters reached safely to lead off the bottom of the second, resulting in 3 runs, but Azusa Pacific starter Michael Oeser worked out of his own jam. Oeser got the first out on a sacrifice bunt back to him at the mound, then fielded a comebacker for the second out before striking out Josh Ashenbrenner to get out of the second with just 3 runs of damage.
The Warriors added another when Gino Casini led off with a single through the left side and worked his way around the bases on a stolen base, a fly out, and an infield groundout, pushing the lead to 4-0 after 4 innings of play. Casini did nearly the same thing in the sixth inning, leading off with a single up the middle and eventually scoring an unearned run from third base on a booted grounder with the Cougar infield pulled in.
The Warrior offense generated 7 hits, with 2 from Casini and another pair off the bat of designated hitter Pat Murray, who led off the 3-run second with a single and registered a 2-out infield single in the fifth inning. Four of Lewis-Clark State’s 5 runs came with left fielder Connor Moore at the plate. His second-inning single drove in 2, he drove in the fourth-inning tally with a groundout, and it was his groundball to second base that resulted in the error that allowed Casini to score in the sixth inning.
Freshman rightfielder Daniel Gonzales led off the seventh with an infield single, and he advanced to second on a throwing error by Lewis-Clark State shortstop Kevin Lovelace. However, the next 3 Azusa Pacific hitters each popped the ball into the air for outs to strand pinch-runner Carlos Maddox at third base. Fassold retired 9 of the 11 Cougar batters he faced, beginning with those 3 to end the seventh.
Freshman second baseman Ryan Henley was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games. The Warrior pitching staff pitched very carefully around seniors Brice Cutspec and Ryan Delgado, who each went 0-for-3 with a walk.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 13-17 overall, while Lewis-Clark State improves to 26-2 on the season. The 4-game series between the programs wraps up with Friday’s noon doubleheader at Harris Field.