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Coyotes Silence Cougars

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Photo by Holly Magnuson
Azusa Pacific struck out seven times, and hit into three crucial double plays on Thursday.

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February 2, 2012
Chris Baker
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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.-- Last night the Azusa Pacific baseball team was running on all cylinders in its home opener, defeating Calremont-Mudd-Scripps 12-2. Today the Cougars were on the other end of spectrum, as Cal State San Bernardino opened its season with a 12-0 win at Fiscalani Field.

The Cougars, who were sharp with 15 hits and four home runs last night, managed a respectable nine hits, but hit into three crucial double plays and stranded six runners. The Coyotes’ Edwin Mendoza went 4-for-5, and smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break open the game at 8-0.

Brent Warren went 2-for-3, while Matt Kimmel notched two hits. J.C. Aguayo got the start and gave up five runs in two innings of work against a Coyote lineup that took advantage of its 10 hits.

The first inning was a prelude of things to come for the Cougars. Kimmel opened with a single to right field, but wouldn’t be on the bases for long as Johnathan Erb hit into an unassisted double play at first. Danny Gonzales then singled to left field, setting up Jordan Leyland, who went 4-4 with two doubles against the Stags. But the UC Irvine transfer couldn’t connect, as he struck out to end the inning.

On the bottom half of the inning CSUSB used a two-out rally, ignited by a Paul Eshelman double, to take an early 2-0 lead. In the top of the second Warren opened with an infield single, and after a strikeout by Matt Page was out on a fielder’s choice by Noah Lothrop. Sammy Soyring then doubled to right field, sending Lothrop to the plate where he was thrown out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the second Aguayo struggled with his control after giving up a single to open the inning. He walked three consecutive players, and hit a batter to give the Coyotes two additional runs. The senior then forced the Coyotes into a double play; plating another runner before getting Eshelman to fly to right field for the third out as the Cougars trailed 5-0 early.

After another Kimmel single in the third, Erb hit into the Cougars’ second double play to keep Azusa Pacific scoreless. Then in the fourth frame Mendoza had the crushing blow with a three-run shot off of the left field pole to push the Coyote’s lead to 8-0.

The Cougars wouldn’t threaten again until they loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning. But for the third, and most demoralizing time Azusa Pacific hit into a double play. The Coyotes later tacked on four runs in the bottom of the eighth, but by then the result was a mere formality.

Alan Garcia pitched a perfect inning of relief, while Finnigan threw four innings of relief, giving up three runs on three hits.

With the loss the Cougars drop to 1-1 on the season, but have a chance to get back at CSUSB with a home game tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.