AZUSA, Calif.-- Behind two more great starts and five home runs, the Azusa Pacific baseball team extended its winning streak to six games with a double header sweep of Holy Names on Friday. The Cougars (8-4), who have opened Pacific West Conference play with a 4-0 mark, kicked off the day with a 6-1 win before posting a 9-2 victory on the nightcap.
Starters Josh Staumont and Zach Hedges combined to allow just two earned runs in 17 innings of work, with Staumont improving to 4-1 on the season after tossing a complete game in the series opener. Hedges surrendered only one earned run while striking out 10 against a Hawks (10-10, 0-6) team that scattered just 11 hits on the day.
“The pitchers did a really nice job. Staumont did a great job of really competing inning-by-inning. When you’re playing four-game series and have your number one go out and throw a complete game it really helps you. And then in game two Hedges did great. I thought he really battled. They made him work for everything. He did a real good job of competing,” said head coach Paul Svagdis.
Hedges gave up seven hits in his eight innings of work, and outside of one tough inning, shutdown the Hawks to grab his second win of the year. In the third inning of game two the junior found himself in trouble with runners on first and second and one out. But after giving up an RBI single, and seeing another run cross the plate on an error, stranded two Hawks with an inning ending strikeout against Zach Verlaan.
Over the balance of the game he allowed only six more hits, and again stranded two runners in the fifth thanks to an inning-ending strikeout.
”For Hedges to go out there and escape that inning, and then throw up zeroes the rest of the way was really impressive. We’ve seen our starters go deep into games all year, and it really bodes well for our bullpen,” said Svagdis.
Not to be outdone, Staumont continued to dazzle with his stellar performance. The La Habra Heights native struck out nine batters in nine innings, and after allowing a first inning hit, didn’t give up a hit to 15 consecutive batters until a leadoff single in the seventh inning from Dustin Zeisler led to the lone run Staumont gave up all game. In his last three starts, Staumount has struck out 33 batters, and now ranks second in the Pacific West Conference with 42 strikeouts on the year.
Offensively Joesph Daris put on a clinic, finishing a double away from the cycle in game one, before batting 3-for-6 in game two. The junior centerfield tallied six hits and four RBIs while scoring three times. In the bottom of the first in game one he sent a 1-1 offering into the right field net for his first homer of the season, and later registered a triple on a line drive down the left field line.
Jordan Brower and Matt Kimmel also homered on the day, with Brower launching his team-leading third bomb into the right field net in the sixth inning of game two. The junior first baseman also showed off his glove, making a highlight reel catch in foul territory on a bunt down the line, and getting Staumont out of a bases loaded jam by applying the tag on an off-target throw to end Holy Names’ bases loaded threat in the seventh frame of the first game.
“For Jordan it’s started defensively. He’s an outstanding defensive first baseman. And now you see his bat producing with his third homer in the past few week. I’m real happy about his hitting process right now. He’s being real simple, and it’s great to see him have personal success like that because when you have production in the middle of the lineup it helps the entire team,” said Svagids.
Andrew Carrillo also flashed his impressive glove, most notably when he chased a ball up the middle, pivoted on the outfield grass, and spun to throw out Benjamin Gamba at first base in the second inning of game one. Carrillo also batted 3-for-7 with an RBI between the two games.
Kimmel finished with four hits and two RBIs in the game, while Ryan Santana added a homer, two hits and two RBIs. Domenic Biagini also blasted a homer and tallied two hits and two RBIs in the sweep.
Azusa Pacific, which is 8-0 at home this season, will return to action on Saturday morning to conclude the PacWest series with Holy Names before hosting Fresno Pacific in a four-game set next weekend.