AZUSA, Calif.-- You won’t win too many games when you commit five errors, and the Cougar baseball team found that out the hard way on Thursday night. Azusa Pacific committed five errors, leading to five unearned runs, in a 9-5 loss to Cal State San Bernardino in the first of a three-game weekend series. The Cougars, who battled back from a 2-0 hole to go ahead 3-2 in the fourth inning, also didn’t help themselves out on the offensive end, striking out 11 times and recording only five hits against the Coyote (3-0) staff.
CSUSB tied the game in fifth inning, and took a one-run lead in the sixth on an unearned, before opening up the game in the seventh inning on a three-run home run (all three runs unearned). Senior Jason Plowman bared the brunt of Azusa Pacific’s miscues, taking the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) in six innings of work. The righty struck out three Coyote hitters, and commanded the strike zone all night, throwing 56 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
He also suffered from a bit of bad luck in the fifth when the first batter of the inning was fooled on a breaking ball, but managed to cue it off the end of his bat to record an infield single. The next hitter put runners on first and third with a weak chopper that bounced high into right field, setting up a sacrifice fly for CSUSB, to give the Coyotes the lead for good.
Cal State San Bernardino hit three home runs in the game, including a pair of back breaking blasts in the seventh and ninth innings to put away the Cougars’ comeback hopes. Dominic Biagini led the team with two RBIs on the night, tying the game in the fourth inning on a two-run triple. Senior Richie Brown gave Azusa Pacific’s its lone lead of the game later in the fourth, driving in Biagini on a double down the left field line on an 0-2 count.
Junior center fielder Matt Kimmel went 1-for-4 with an RBI, while Dusty Sanderson went registered an RBI on a squeeze play in the eighth to make it a two-run game. Kimmel was also robbed of an extra base hit in the bottom of the fourth when the Coyote’s right fielder crashed into the wall to make a leaping grab.
In the top of the ninth the first Coyote batter reached on a fielding error, and the following hitter made the Cougars pay with a two-run pinch-hit bomb over the wall in right center. Junior pitcher Kyle Pine entered the game in the ninth and put the ‘Yotes down with three quick outs to keep the deficit at four runs. Azusa Pacific couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the frame, falling to 1-2 on the season with its second consecutive loss.
Michael Castello led Cal State San Bernardino with three RBIs, and Billy Hamilton was right behind him with two RBIs, both coming on his ninth inning home run. James Trebus earned his second win of the season after tossing five innings and striking out eight Azusa Pacific hitters. The loss for Azusa Pacific evens up the all-time series at 13-13, with the Coyotes holding a 6-2 edge since 2002.
The two teams will return to the diamond tomorrow (weather permitting) at Fiscalani field in San Bernardino, with the first pitch slated for 2 p.m. The series will conclude on Saturday in Azusa, with the start time set for 1 p.m.