AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific baseball team suffered its fifth straight loss Tuesday night, falling to Concordia 5-3 just a week after facing the Eagles in its home opener. In that loss Azusa Pacific committed five errors in an 11-2 blowout, but Tuesday night’s affair was much closer with the Cougars leading into the fifth inning in a game that saw a strong defensive effort (one error) and a solid showing from the mound.
The Cougars held Concordia to five runs, with the majority of the damage coming on a three-run bomb in the fifth that turned a 2-2 tilt into a 5-2 Concordia lead. Matt Winkler pitched four innings, striking out five batters and allowing one earned run, while the freshman pair of Mitch Dergazarian and Zach DeMarcus combined to toss four shutout innings of one-run ball over the final four frames.
Ryan Henley and Matt Kimmel continued their hot hitting, with a base hit apiece, and Domenic Biagini recorded his first home run of the year to finish with two RBIs and a run. Freshman Daniel Martin paced the Cougars with two hits on the night, to go with a spectacular defensive play in his first career start in left field.
The Cougars started off strong and took the lead in the first inning. Henley doubled down the right field line to lead off the game and quickly advanced to third after Kimmel’s shot through the right side. Biagini then hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Henley for his fourth RBI of the season.
Winkler got into a jam in the fourth inning, loading the bases with one out, and after giving up an RBI single, managed to get out of the inning on a popout and strikeout against the Eagle’s leadoff hitter to keep the game tied at 1-1. Answering quickly back, Biagini blasted a homerun down the right field line to put the Cougars ahead 2-1 at the start of the fifth inning.
Kyle Pine took the loss, giving up four runs in the fifth inning, three of which came on a two-out home run. Cody Smith opened the inning with a shot up the middle, but was later picked off by Pine. After a series of a batters, the Cougars found themselves needing only one more out, with runners on first and second, when Chris Kuber hit a three run homerun to left field raising, the score 5-2.
In the bottom of the seventh Azusa found had a chance to make some noise, with bases loaded, one out, and Kimmel at the plate. On the first pitch Kimmel hit a line drive to left, allowing Andrew Carrillo to tag on the play and score what would be the final run for the Cougars. Kimmel leads the team with five RBI’s and is batting 478 through six games.
Dergazarian was effective in the sixth and seventh innings, tabbing three strikeouts against the heart of the Eagles’ order. DeMarcus closed the game for the Cougars, and held Concordia at bay with a pair of scoreless frames.
Kuber had a game high of three RBI’s, while Bryan Garza went 3-for-3, scoring two of the Eagles’ five runs. He also had one RBI, and contributed in 12 of the team’s 27 putouts.
The defeat drops the Cougars to 1-5, and o-5 at home. The Cougars will have a chance to end their skid on Thursday night against Biola when the teams open up a four game series. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.