FRESNO, Calif. -- Senior righthander Ryan Rosenhahn tossed 5.2 innings of effective relief, allowing Azusa Pacific to rally from a 3-0 deficit for a crucial 6-5 road win over the NAIA’s No. 21-ranked Azusa Pacific.
Rosenhahn surrendered just 3 hits while striking out 5 to earn the win, and a trio of relievers closed out the final 2 innings with 2 outs each. Freshman righthander Cameron Ross retired the final 2 to pick up the save, including a game-ending strikeout.
With the win, the Cougars snapped a 5-game losing streak that included 3 straight walkoff defeats. The victory was also Azusa Pacific’s first 1-run win after losing its first 5 games decided by a single score this year.
The Cougars scored 2 runs each in the third, fifth and seventh innings to take a 6-3 lead into the final 2 frames. Rosenhahn walked Fresno Pacific’s eighth-inning leadoff hitter before giving way to senior righthander Garrett Granitz, who subsequently walked the next batter to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved the Sunbird baserunners up to second and third, and Andrew Douglas trimmed the Cougar lead to 6-4 with a sacrifice fly to left field. Another walk put the tying run on base and brought sophomore lefthander Tim Lu out of the bullpen to induce an inning-ending lineout from Fresno Pacific’s leadoff hitter, catcher Jared Coleman.
In the ninth, Lu gave up a leadoff single to Andrews that was followed by Tyler Pryor’s double to center field, although Azusa Pacific’s relay from centerfielder Josh Leite to the plate nailed Andrews at home for the first out of the inning. Ross replaced Lu, issuing a wild pitch that moved Pryor to third base before inducing a groundout from Case Rigby that scored Pryor to cut the Cougar advantage to 6-5 with 2 outs. Anthony Martinez fouled off 3 2-strike offerings from Ross before a swing and miss on a 2-2 count for the game-ending whiff.
Azusa Pacific didn’t score after loading the bases with 2 outs in the first inning, and the Cougars went down in order against Fresno Pacific starter Kelyn Schellenberg in the second. The Sunbirds scored 1 in the first inning and 2 in the second for a 3-0 lead, but senior third baseman Ryan Delgado answered with a 2-out, 2-run home run down the left-field line in the top of the third inning to cut the lead to 3-2.
Junior catcher Anthony Delgado hit a leadoff double in the fifth, the first of 3 consecutive base-hits off Schellenberg. Delgado scored to tie the game at 3-3 on Leite’s single to right, and Leite moved to second on the throw to the plate. Freshman rightfielder Daniel Gonzales delivered a single into left to bring Leite around for the go-ahead run and a 4-3 lead.
Leite sparked the Cougars’ 2-run seventh, as well, hitting a 1-out single and moving into scoring position on a groundout. Cutspec’s 2-out single to center brought Leite in to score for a 5-3 lead, and Cutspec took an extra base on the throw home. After the Sunbirds intentionally walked Ryan Delgado, freshman leftfielder Trevor Lothrop made it a 3-run lead with his second hit of the game, an RBI single that pushed the margin to 6-3.
The Cougars tallied 11 total hits off Schellenberg, who threw a complete-game for the Sunbirds. Leite, Ryan Delgado and Lothrop led the way with 2 hits each, and Cutspec reached safely 3 times on a single, a walk and a hit-batsman. Fresno Pacific’s offense was paced by centerfielder Tyler Pryor, who accounted for half of the Sunbirds’ 8 hits and reached safely in all 5 of his plate appearances by going 4-for-4 with a walk. All 8 hits allowed by Azusa Pacific pitching came from the top 3 spots in the Fresno Pacific lineup, with hitters 4 through 9 going hitless in 18 at-bats.
The win lifts Azusa Pacific into sole possession of eighth place in the Golden State Athletic Conference with a record of 14-20 overall and 7-15 GSAC. Fresno Pacific, now 21-9 overall and 13-9 GSAC, remains in fourth place with a 2-game difference above and below the Sunbirds in the conference standings. The teams wrap up the 4-game series with a noon doubleheader in Azusa on Saturday.