SANTA CLARITA, Calif.-- With the season series in hand the NAIA’s 5th ranked Azusa Pacific looked to sweep the Master’s in the prolonged finale of a rain-delayed double header. But the Mustangs had other plans, holding the Cougars (28-7, 17-3) to five hits to hand Azusa Pacific just its third loss of the conference season.
The Cougars, who trailed 4-0 in the top of the 6th, got on the scoreboard with a three-run shot from Johnathan Erb, but that was all the Golden State Athletic Conference’s most prolific offense could muster. Outside of their 2-through-5 hitters Azusa Pacific went hitless in 16 at bats despite striking out just twice.
The Mustangs (24-14, 13-11) also tallied just five hits, but spread their five runs over four frames to take their first win over Azusa Pacific this season. Colby Gurney took his second loss of the season (7-2) after allowing four runs (three earned) in three innings of work.
Jesus Del Rosario pitched to one batter in spot-duty, before Jason Plowman took over. Plowman allowed one run on two hits in one and two thirds innings before Alan Garcia got his first bit of work in nearly two weeks. Garcia struck out one batter and didn’t allow a hit in his one frame.
Offensively Erb was the bright spot, driving in three runs on a two out home run over the right centerfield fence. Jordan Leyland, who earned GSAC Player of the Week honors after hitting three home runs in Azusa Pacific’s sweep of Vanguard, went 2-for-3 with a run. Matt Kimmel and Brent Warren rounded out the Cougars’ hits, with Kimmel registering his second triple of the season.
The Master’s took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning after Joe Riddle, who reached on an error and advanced on a balk, scored before Caleb Halverson made it a 2-0 game in the 2nd inning off a single by Spencer Downs.
The Mustangs added to their edge in the 3rd on Steven Karkenny’s sac fly before the Master’s made it 4-0 when Bryan Lucas scored on a failed pickoff attempt by Plowman in the 4th. The Cougars got three across in the 5th on Erb’s homer but the Mustangs tacked on their fifth in the bottom of the 5th on a Karkenny single to left. The loss drops the Cougars lead atop the GSAC standings to three games over Concordia and to six games over the third place Mustangs.
Tomorrow Azusa Pacific will take on the Los Angele Dodgers’ class-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at the Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga at 5:05 p.m. before the Cougars travel to Phoenix, Ariz. for a Wednesday double header with Arizona Christian. Azusa Pacific returns to conference play on Saturday with a double-dip at San Diego Christian.