AZUSA, Calif.-- It wasn’t how they wanted it to end, but after closing an 18-game home stand with a 15-3 mark, they can’t be too disappointed. On Tuesday the night the Azusa Pacific baseball team finished its longest home stand of the year with a 10-6 loss to UC San Diego, surrendering a season-high 10 runs to split the first two games of a four-game home-and-away series with the Tritons.
The Cougars and Tritons traded leads three times in the game, with a four-run fourth inning putting Azusa Pacific ahead 5-2. But the Tritons responded with three in the sixth, and scored runs in each of the subsequent innings to hand the Cougars their first loss since March 15.
Andy Bissel belted two home runs in the loss, driving in a team-high three runs, while Mitch Dergazarian and Matt Kimmel had three hits apiece. One night after eight Cougar pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts in a 3-1 Azusa Pacific win, the Tritons knocked the Cougars’ stingy pitching staff around, becoming the first team to surpass the six-run plateau against Azusa Pacific this season.
In the bottom of the fourth Azusa Pacific erased a 3-1 deficit, tying the game on Bissel’s two-run shot following Sean Aspinall’s walk. A Blake James base hit led to Andrew Carrillo’s RBI double, and Kimmel’s two-out double to the gap in left center plated Carrillo to put the Cougars ahead 5-3.
After a pair of scoreless frames, the Triton’s offense struck again with three runs in the top of the sixth. Three straight singles to open the inning loaded the bases, and a wild pitch gave UCSD its first run of the sixth. A slow roller down the first base line knotted the score at 5-5, and a base hit to center put the Tritons ahead 6-5. But the Cougar pitching staff avoided a bigger inning with two straight outs to leave the bases juiced and keep Azusa pacific within a run.
UC San Diego, however, added on to its lead on an RBI single in the seventh, and used three hits to tally a pair of runs in the eighth to make it a 9-5 game. Bissel’s two-out solo shot cut the deficit to three runs in the eighth, but the Tritons got another run on a passed ball in the top of the ninth, and Azusa Pacific couldn’t muster a rally in the bottom of the frame to fall to 17-7 on the season.
Danny Gonzales scored the Cougars’ first run of the game on a wild pitch after opening the second inning with a walk, and going from first to third on a failed pickoff attempt, tying the score at 1-1 following the Triton’s one-run second inning.
The Cougars, who have played 20 of their first 24 games at home, will now embark on a 20-game road trip, opening with a four-game series against Point Loma in San Diego on Friday and Saturday. Azusa Pacific will then face the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in an exhibition on Tuesday before traveling to St. George, Utah to take on Dixie State in a Pacific West Conference series that pits the current first and second place teams against each other.
Azusa Pacific will return home on April 29 against Cal Poly Pomona, and will close out its home schedule with a four-game series against California Baptist from May 1-5.