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Eight-Spot Drops Cougars

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Photo by Ken Williams
Matt Kimmel hit his first home run of the season in the Cougars' 11-2 loss to Concordia.

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February 5, 2013
Chris Baker
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AZUSA, Calif.-- With the game tied 1-1 heading into the sixth inning Concordia opened the floodgates to the tune of eight runs on five hits to spoil the Azusa Pacific baseball team’s home opener with an 11-2 defeat of the Cougars on Tuesday night. The Eagles recorded 13 hits, five walks, and were beaned seven times against a young Cougar rotation that featured six pitchers, four of which were true freshmen making their collegiate debuts, to notch their second consecutive win in Azusa.

The Azusa Pacific offense was hit and miss, tabbing 10 hits on the night, and getting multiple hits in just two innings. Matt Kimmel provided one of the Cougars’ few highlights of the game, blasting a solo home run into the right field net to tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. The junior, who batted .409 with three doubles and six RBIs against the Eagles in 2012, went 3-for-5 in the game.

Seniors Ryan Henley and Joe Daris combined to tab four hits, two stolen bases, and a run, while only three other Azusa Pacific batters logged hits on the night, with freshman Joe Huthsing notching his first career RBI. The catcher also threw out a Concordia runner in the third inning.

Matt Winkler pitched well in his two innings of work, holding the Eagles without a hit while posting a pair of strikeouts. Sophomore righty Kyle Pine entered the game in the third inning and got a pair of Eagles out before Nate Namanny took over to toss 2.2 innings of relief. Namanny tallied a team-high four strikeouts in his first career game.

Concordia got on the board in the third inning when a pop fly landed between a trio of Cougars five feet in front of the plate, resulting in a throwing error to second base that scored the runner on third. Azusa Pacific tied it up in the bottom half of the frame on Kimmel’s bomb, and the score was knotted going into the sixth.

In the game-breaking inning Ryan Dimascio led off with a double to left field, the following batter was beaned, and the third hitter reached on a fielding error to load the bases with no outs. The Eagles took the edge on a sacrifice fly to right field, and three batters later went up 4-1 on a two-run double to right. The next batter hit a two-run single to centerfield, and Concordia got two more runs on a base hit through the middle to end the scoring onslaught.

The Eagles added to their lead in the seventh with a double and an RBI single, and capped things off with another score in the ninth. In the eight Henley singled to left, stole second, and scored on Huthsing’s double to left.

The loss was Azusa Pacific’s second straight to the Eagles, who claimed the 2012 Golden State Athletic Tournament title against the Cougars last May. Azusa Pacific drops to 1-1 on the year, while the Eagles improve to 3-4. The Cougars will return to the diamond on Thursday night when they open a three-game series with Cal State San Bernardino at 5 p.m. The Cougars went 1-2 against the Coyotes last season.