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Sunbirds Sweep Cougars

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Photo by Ken Williams

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March 2, 2013
Shannon Righetti
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AZUSA, Calif.-- Azusa Pacific lost both games of the double header Saturday afternoon against Fresno Pacific. The Cougars recorded only eight hits on the day, losing 12-1 to the Sunbirds in the opener before battling in a 6-4 loss in game two. The Sunbirds’ sweep drops the Cougars to 3-13 on the season (1-5 Pac West).

Brendan Casey recorded a double and an RBI, while Domenic Biagini broke even in the first game batting 2-for-4 and 3-for-6 on the day with two doubles.

Jason Plowman started the opener strong in the first inning, putting the Sunbirds down in order. The Cougars then took an early lead in the first when Matt Kimmel reached on a fielding error to get on base. After a steal and two fly balls, Kimmel scored the Cougars’ only run of game one on a sac-fly from Casey.

The Sunbirds took control in the second inning with six hits and five runs. Kaohu Gaspar doubled down the left field line and Bobby Mendoza followed up with a 3-run home run helping the Sunbirds to a 5-1 advantage after two frames.

Fresno Pacific had another big inning in the seventh, collecting three hits and scoring four more runs to cement the win.

In the ninth Biagini doubled to right center, but the last ditch effort wasn’t enough to get the Cougars out of their massive hole. The Sunbirds’ starter, J.D. Salles, held the Cougars to one run (unearned) in eight innings to pick up his third win of the season.

Matt Winkler started on the mound for the Cougars in the second game. He opened strong in the first inning, but gave up a pair of runs in the second after Fresno Pacific’s Steven Moon homered to left field to make it a 2-0 contest.

The Cougars battled back from Fresno Pacific’s two-run lead with a pair of doubles in the second inning. Biagini drove in Daniel Martin on an RBI double and Richie Brown proceeded with an RBI double of his own, bringing in Biagini to tie the game headed into the third inning.

The next two innings were scoreless, until the fifth when the Fresno Pacific’s Brett Bishop doubled to left center advancing the runner, and then bringing him home with a double down the left field line from John Koretoff. Gaspar capped off the fifth with another double down the right field line to knock in the third run of the inning, giving the Sunbirds a 5-2 lead.

The Cougar’s battled back, bringing in a run of their own in the fifth, but Fresno scored in the next frame to make it a 6-3 game.

The Cougars were desperate to close the gap and a glimmer of hope came when Daniel Gonzales went deep in the sixth inning for his first home run of the season. His solo shot brought the score to 6-4.

The Cougars battled until the end, but couldn’t take advantage of Dusty Sanderson’s ninth-inning base hit. Azusa Pacific will have a chance for redemption next Saturday at Fresno Pacific, when the two teams play in another double header.