ALAMEDA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific baseball team opened up the Pacific West season with a bang, but couldn’t sustain its momentum in the second game of a double header to post a split with Holy Names in the Cougars’ PacWest debut. In game one Azusa Pacific tabbed a 10-inning 6-4 victory, before losing tough in a 1-0 seven inning defeat on Friday.
In the first game a pair of Cougars scored on an error by the Hawks in the 10th frame, before freshman pitcher Nate Namanny put Holy Names down in order in the bottom of the inning to record the first win of his career. His effort was just a piece of the Cougars’ impressive day from the mound. Azusa Pacific gave up just two earned runs in 17 innings of work.
Seniors Jason Plowman and Matt Winkler gave up an earned run each in their starts, combining to toss 13 innings between the two games. Plowman struck out a pair of batters, and limited the Hawks (2-8, 1-1 PWC) to three hits, while Winkler took a tough-luck loss in the second game after holding Holy Names to three hits in six innings.
“It was a tough day, but I’m happy we came out with the win in the first game. I thought our pitchers did well. Jason did a good job of competing, and Namanny was solid for us. Winkler gave us six good innings in the second game, but our bats just weren’t there today. We’re young and we’re still gelling,” said head coach Paul Svagdis.
Azusa Pacific’s offense sputtered, tallying only six runs on 16 hits. The Cougars went 1-for-6 with runners on third, and 0-for-2 with the bases loaded, missing out on numerous opportunities to open the first game wide open. Azusa Pacific left 17 runners on base, including 12 in game one.
Brendan Casey went 3-for-5 in game one, recording an RBI in the win, while Mitch Dergazarian and Dusty Sanderson tabbed RBIs. Sanderson notched two hits, while Ryan Henley and Richie Brown each went 2-for-5 in the victory.
In the 10th inning Tyler Putjenter reached on a fielding error before Dergazarian singled to put runners on first and second with one out. On the following play Sanderson reached after the Hawks’ second baseman was late covering first base, missing the pitchers’ throw. The ball sailed into right field to plate Putjenter and Dergazarian and give Azusa Pacific a 6-4 edge. In the bottom of the inning Namanny put Holy Names down in order to collect the win.
The Cougars led 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth before the Hawks cashed in on a two-out error to tie the game. Azusa Pacific scored in the ninth after Danny Martin doubled and Casey Friedrich was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. A Casey single in the sixth broke a 2-2 tie after Holy Names knotted the game with runs in the third and fourth.
Azusa Pacific took its first lead of the afternoon in the top of the third, getting two runs on three hits. Brown, Casey, and Sanderson each singled in the frame, with Dergazarian notching an RBI sac-fly before Sanderson plated Casey on a base hit through the left side.
In game two neither offense got on the board until the sixth inning when the Hawks got a leadoff single, stole second, and scored after a pair of sacrifices for the game’s lone run. Winkler allowed two hits in the first, but held the Hawks without a hit in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings.
He faced only 23 batters in the game, and limited Holy Names to three hits. The Cougars had a chance to break the scoreless tie in the sixth inning when they got runners to second twice before coming away empty handed. Only four Cougars registered this in the loss, led by Putjenter, who went 2-for-3.
Azusa Pacific will face Holy Names again on Saturday, looking to take its first series win of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.