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Swept Away By The Red Storm

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Photo by Ken Williams

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March 29, 2013
Shannon Righetti
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AZUSA, Calif.-- Just when it seemed like the Azusa Pacific baseball team was starting to gain some traction the Cougars dropped both ends of a Friday double header to Dixie State (Utah). Azusa Pacific managed nine runs on the day, eight of which came in a high-scoring 12-8 loss to the Red Storm (19-7; 12-6 PWC) prior to a 7-1 defeat in game two.

The Cougar offense put up an eight spot in game one, and got the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But a diving catch in right field on a Tyler Putjenter flare ended the threat and the game.

Azusa Pacific led by as many as three runs early on, and matched the Red Storm’s leadoff home run with a solo shot from Domenic Biagini in the bottom of the first inning. The Cougars then scored three more runs in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a throwing error to go ahead 4-1 after two frames.

The Red Storm, however, responded in a big way, scoring in five of the next six innings, including five in the top of the third to grab a 6-4 edge. Dixie State pushed its advantage to 10-4 before Azusa Pacific got three runners across the plate in the seventh, and scored another in the ninth.

The Red Storm hit a season-high four home runs in game one, doubling the team’s season total behind a pair of solo jacks from Garrett Nash.

Ryan Henley accounted for three doubles on Friday, recording two RBIs in his seven trips to the plate while driving in the lone run in the fourth inning of game two to avoid a Red Storm shutout. Senior first baseman Richie Brown went 4-for-8 between the two games.

Zach DeMarcus made two appearances out of the pen, pitching 6.3 total innings. Demarcus held the Red Storm to one run in game two, recording two strikeouts in 5.1 frames. Brendan Casey, the Cougars’ everyday third baseman, made his first pitching appearance since 2011 and struck out three batters in his three innings of relief.

Biagini led off game one with a homer to right in the first, and the Cougars capitalized on the Dixie State’s two errors in the second, scoring two runs. Putjenter was 3-for-5 in game one, scoring one of the Cougars’ eight runs.

The Cougars trailed by six runs after two innings in game two, and weren’t able to dig themselves out of the early hole. The Red Storm’s Sam Friend pitched a complete game, limiting Azusa Pacific to five hits and one earned run to go with five strikeouts.

The sweep leaves the Cougars with an 8-20 record on the season and 6-12 in Pac West action. The teams will resume the four-game weekend Series on Saturday at noon.