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Cougars Win With A Kick-Save

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April 28, 2010
Joe Reinsch
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AZUSA, Calif. -- Sophomore lefthander Tim Lu saved Azusa Pacific’s 5-4 win over Westmont with a kick-save to second baseman Ryan Henley to retire the last of 5 straight batters to finish the game.

Lu, who is 1-0 with 2 saves and a 1.93 ERA in 6 appearances that span 14 innings over the past 2 weeks, inherited a bases-loaded, 1-out jam with a 5-2 lead to protect in the top of the eighth inning. Lu got Terrell Wong to ground into a run-scoring fielder’s choice that turned into a 2-run play on a throwing error from second base, but he maintained the 5-4 lead with an inning-ending lineout to Henley. With 2 outs in the ninth, Lu’s 1-0 offering to Mark Magdaleno resulted in a hard grounder back up the middle that caromed off his foot towards right field. Henley dove to his left to make the stop, then scrambled to his feet and fired to first to beat Magdaleno by a step to close out the victory.

Senior third baseman Ryan Delgado was 2-for-3 with a game-high 2 RBIs, extending his GSAC hitting streak to 24 games, which includes 7 straight multi-hit games in conference play. His first-inning sacrifice fly, a deep line drive to the front of the left-field wall, produced Azusa Pacific’s first run of the game, and he hit a leadoff single to right in the third inning for his first hit of the game. His second hit, a sharp grounder down the third-base line with runners at first and third, produced the game-winning RBI and gave the Cougars a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning.

After Delgado’s first-inning sacrifice fly, Westmont evened the game at 1-1 when Coby Cress hit the first pitch of the second inning over the left-field fence for a solo home run. That turned out to be the only run given up in the first 5 innings by senior righthander Ryan Rosenhahn, who struck out 5 batters his first time through the Westmont lineup. Rosenhahn finished with 7 strikeouts, giving up 2 runs on just 4 hits in 5.2 innings.

The Cougars added 2 more in the second, starting with junior catcher Anthony Delgado’s 1-out single up the middle that scored junior centerfielder Josh Leite from second base. Sophomore shortstop Sammy Soyring followed with an RBI double that pushed the lead to 3-1. Westmont starter Geoff Rocha settled into a groove from that point on, retiring 14 of the next 16 Cougar batters including 11 straight from the third through sixth innings. Anthony Delgado broke up Rocha’s rhythm with a seventh-inning leadoff single, the first of 4 Azusa Pacific hits in the seventh. Freshman leftfielder Trevor Lothrop’s infield single after a Soyring sacrifice bunt put runners at first and third for pinch-hitter Virgil Chavira, who delivered an RBI single through the left side that gave the Cougars a 4-2 lead and set up Ryan Delgado’s game-winning RBI single.

Junior reliever Michael Oeser got an inning-ending groundout after inheriting a bases-loaded, 2-outs situation in the sixth, and he came back from a leadoff walk and sacrifice bunt with back-to-back strikeouts in the seventh. He gave up a leadoff single in the eighth, then walked consecutive hitters after another strikeout to load the bases with 1 out, at which point he was replaced by Lu.

Three Cougars besides Ryan Delgado had 2 hits, including Anthony Delgado, who has registered multiple hits in 3 straight games. Lothrop was 2-for-4 with a double from the leadoff spot, scoring twice, and Leite added a 2-for-3 performance in Azusa Pacific’s 11-hit attack.

With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 18-28 overall and 11-22 in GSAC play, while Westmont drops to 12-32 overall and 8-25 GSAC. The teams continue their season-ending 4-game series with another 6 p.m. matchup Thursday evening in Azusa, followed by a noon doubleheader Saturday in Santa Barbara.