AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific baseball team allowed a season-high six runs, snapping an eight game winning streak with a 6-3 loss to Fresno Pacific on Thursday night. The Cougars, who owned unblemished home (10-0) and Pacific West Conference (6-0) records headed into Thursday’s series opener with the Sunbirds, gave up their first two homers of the season in the loss, while Fresno Pacific (13-8, 5-4) ran its win streak to seven games.
The Sunbirds scored early and often against the PacWest’s stingiest rotation, going ahead 5-0 in the third inning before a bases loaded Matt Kimmel triple in the bottom of the third cut the Sunbirds’ lead to two. The Cougars again loaded the bases on the bottom of the ninth, but their bid for a second straight walkoff win was dashed with a game-ending groundout.
Fresno Pacific tallied 14 hits, tabbing five earned runs off of one of the top Major League prospects in Division II, Josh Staumont. The sophomore gave up a season-high 10 hits, eight of which came in the first three frames, before Staumont tossed back-to-back scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth innings.
Azusa Pacific (10-5, 6-1) created opportunities late in the game, but couldn’t cash in. In the bottom of the ninth the Cougars got a two-out infield single from Joseph Daris to keep the game alive, before a Dusty Sanderson walk and a Danny Martin base hit loaded the bags with two outs, and last Saturday’s walk off hero Jordan Brower coming to the plate. Fresno Pacific, however, got out of the jam with a groundball to short.
In the eighth Brower hit a leadoff triple to right field, but two quick strikeouts and a groundout ended the threat. The Cougars also had an opportunity to do damage in the seventh thanks to an Andrew Carrillo base hit and a Mitch Dergazarian walk, but Azusa Pacific again couldn’t plate the runners, finishing the night with 10 runners left on base.
Azusa Pacific tallied eight hits in the game, with Daris and Kimmel each recording two hits. Kimmel drove in all three of the Cougars’ runs with one of two Azusa Pacific triples on the night.
The Cougar bullpen, which has been used sparingly thanks the Cougars’ stellar starting pitching, gave up just four hits and one run in four innings of work on Thursday. Wyatt Wood relieved Staumont to start the sixth, and in 1.1 innings gave up one run before senior Hunter Brown struck out three to shutout the Sunbirds in 1.1 innings. Mike Fairchild pitched the final 1.1 innings, and didn’t give up a hit to keep the Cougars within striking distance throughout.
Fresno Pacific, which went deep twice on Thursday, became the first team to homer against the Cougars this season, while also snapping an eight game run where Azusa Pacific limited its opponents to two runs or fewer.
On Friday the Cougars will have a chance to end FPU’s seven-game winning streak in game two of the four-game PacWest series, with the first pitch slated for 3 p.m. The series will then conclude with a doubleheader at noon on Saturday.