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Cougars Edged In Pitchers’ Duel

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February 18, 2011
Joe Reinsch
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SAN MARCOS, Calif. -- Cal State San Marcos used timely hitting and a strong pitching effort that limited Azusa Pacific to 2 hits to post a 3-1 non-conference win over the Cougars Friday afternoon.

The game was scheduled to be the first game of a doubleheader, but the second game was rained out and will not be made up. The teams were also scheduled to play again Saturday in Azusa, but the strong likelihood of rain in the forecast pushed that scheduled single game back to 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Azusa Pacific was held hitless through the first 6 inning by Cal State San Marcos’ starter, 6-foot-6 left-hander Matt Kretchmer, although he issued 6 walks to Cougar hitters and had to be replaced by righthander Kyle Smart after walking the first 2 batters in the seventh. Smart gave up an infield single to the first batter he faced, freshman third baseman Dusty Sanderson, and junior second baseman Sammy Soyring brought in the Cougars’ first run with an RBI groundout that cut the San Marcos lead to 2-1.

Cal State San Marcos, which nabbed Jason Plowman trying to steal third base earlier in the inning, got out of the frame with only 1 run of damage with another groundout to end the inning. Azusa Pacific threatened again in the eighth, when junior centerfielder Brent Warren knocked a leadoff double to left to put the tying run in scoring position for the Cougars. However, Smart struck out the next batter for the first out and induced a pair of groundouts to again get out of the frame with the 2-1 lead intact.

Cal State San Marcos added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, when Kyle Secciani’s 1-out walk from Cougar righthander Morgan Wynne turned into a pair of steals and a run on a Ryle Parks 1-out single to center. Cal State scored its first 2 runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth off freshman righthander Jacob Cage, who gave up a leadoff single that turned into the game’s first run after a sacrifice bunt and a 1-out RBI double to left from catcher Marco Arellano. Trent Jemmett hit a 2-out single to left to bring in another run and make it a 2-0 lead after 5 innings.

Junior righthander Colby Gurney tossed 3 scoreless innings to start the game for Azusa Pacific, surrendering 2 hits and a walk with 1 strikeout. The Cougar pitching trio combined for 4 walks and 5 strikeouts, scattering 3 total runs on 7 hits. Kretchmer picked up the win for Cal State San Marcos with 6 no-hit innings, giving up 1 earned run with 6 walks and 5 strikeouts. Smart picked up the 3-inning save, surrendering both Azusa Pacific hits and striking out 1.

The loss is the second straight, and fourth in the past 5 games, for Azusa Pacific, which is now 6-4 with all 4 defeats coming by a margin of either 1 or 2 runs. Cal State San Marcos improves to 7-5 against a schedule that so far consists exclusively of Golden State Athletic Conference opponents. The teams will play again at 3 p.m. in Azusa, and they’ll meet one last time in late April, when Azusa Pacific visits San Marcos for another single game on Monday, April 25.