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Cage Douses Firestorm

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Photo by Ken Williams

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April 4, 2012
Chris Baker
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PHOENIX, Ariz.-- After dropping the first of double header with Arizona Christian on Wednesday afternoon, Jacob Cage tossed a complete game shutout in the finale to give the NAIA’s No. 5 ranked Azusa Pacific a split in the desert.

Cage allowed just four hits and didn’t walk a Firestorm batter in the Cougars’ 1-0 win in game two, evening up the brief series after Azusa Pacific’s (29-8) 5-2 loss in the opener after getting into Arizona late last night following the exhibition with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. J.C. Aguayo registered the Cougars’ lone RBI in the win, driving in Matt Kimmel in the top of the 5th with the contest knotted at 0-0.

Cage’s victory, which ended Arizona Christian’s (23-17) six-game winning streak, ended Azusa Pacific’s two game skid, which was tied for the team’s longest this year. The Cougar offense tallied only three hits in game two, two of which came in the 5th when Azusa Pacific took the lead.

In the 4thBrent Warren nearly put the Cougars ahead with a leadoff home run, but his bid for a bomb was robbed by Alex Glenn in right field. In the bottom of the 4th Cage gave up a one-out single, but pitched his way out of the jam after getting the Firestorm to hit into two straight pop outs.

Then in the 5th Cage was clutch again, stranding Garrison Hensley on 2nd after he got in scoring position with no outs after Azusa Pacific gave the sophomore a 1-0 lead to work with in the top when Aguyao plated Matt Kimmel. Neither team scored from there on out as the Cougars posted their first shutout of the season.

In game one Azusa Pacific notched just three hits, tied for the fewest this season for one of the NAIA’s most prolific offenses. Azusa Pacific jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Warren got on base after getting hit by a pitch before Jordan Leyland singled to put runners on first and second with one out. A wild pitch advanced both runners before Johnathan Erb scored Warren on a groundout to short.

Azusa Pacific then got a gift when Kimmel plated Leyland after reaching on an error at third base. But that was all Arizona Christian would give the Cougars as the team registered just two hits over the next eight frames.

The Firestorm got to Aguayo in the 4th with two runs before he recorded two of his eight strikeouts to get out of the inning. Arizona Christian then went ahead in the 7th, tagging Cameron Ross for three runs and three hits before going on to win 5-2.

Wednesday’s double header was part a busy stretch for Azusa Pacific. The Cougars played yesterday and Monday, and will now travel to San Diego Christian on Saturday for a double header before hosting the Hawks for a double dip on Monday.