HONOLULU, Hawai’i-- Azusa Pacific and Hawai’i Pacific traded late-game heroics, with the Sea Warriors using a six-run eighth inning to post a 9-6 game one win before the Cougars scored four runs in the top of the seventh in an 8-4 victory in the series finales. Azusa Pacific, which held a lead in the final two innings in each of the four games in the series, registered their second consecutive Pacific West Conference split.
Junior southpaw Adam McCreery overcame five Cougar (22-14, 15-9) errors in a dominant two-hit complete game. McCreery struck out 12 batters and didn’t allow an earned run in seven innings of work after taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his fourth win this season. He also got out of an early no-out bases loaded jam in the first inning following three Cougar errors, allowing only two runs to cross the plate.
McCreery had four innings where he struck out two or more batters, and despite striking out the side in the fourth inning, Azusa Pacific trailed a hitless Sea Warrior team 4-3.
Daniel Martin, Jordan Brower, and Blake James drove in two runs apiece in the nightcap, with Martin’s RBI single in the top of the seventh providing the game-winning run.
In the top of the seventh Martin’s one run base hit opened the doors for a four-run frame. Brower put Azusa Pacific ahead 6-4 with his sacrifice fly before Andy Bissel doubled in Martin. Domenic Biagini capped the scoring with his RBI triple, pushing the Cougar lead to 8-4.
In the bottom of the seventh McCreery erased any hopes of another Sea Warrior come back, striking out a pair of batters to seal the win.
Mitch Dergazarian, Martin, and James tabbed two hits each in the win, while seven different Cougars crossed home plate.
In game one Zach Hedges struck out eight batters in in 6.2 innings, surrendering three earned runs while walking only one batter. The junior also excelled out of the stretch, stranding eight base runners in the loss. But after leaving the game with his team leading 5-3, the Sea Warriors tabbed four hits and six runs over the next 1.1 innings to post a 9-6 win.
After the Cougars went ahead 6-3 in the top of the 8th with James’ RBI single, Hawai’i Pacific responded by putting up a six-spot in the bottom of the eighth to go ahead 9-6. A Cougar fielding error, followed by four straight Sea Warrior hits, including a go-ahead three-run homer, gave HPU its first lead since the first inning.
Azusa Pacific scored its fifth unanswered run in the top of the fourth, using a two-out Dergazarian two-run double to plate Andrew Carrillo and James and put the Cougars ahead 5-2.
In the bottom of the second the Sea Warriors loaded the bases with two outs, getting the first runner on with an error before two straight singles loaded the bags. Hedges, however, escaped the jam with an inning-ending flyout to center field.
In the top of the second Azusa Pacific got on the board when Joe Huthsing’s RBI double plated Brower, who led off with a single to left and advanced to second on a Martin base hit. Carrillo then put the Cougars ahead 3-2 with his bases loaded, two-run single down the right field line.
Hawai’i Pacific grabbed an early two-run lead in the bottom of the first, using three hits and a two-out, two-run single to center from Chad Bolibol.
Azusa Pacific tallied 12 hits in the loss, with five different players registering multiple hits. Dergazarian and Carrillo each drove in two runs, while Huthsing and Blake added RBIs in a losing effort.
Azusa Pacific will continue its lengthy road trip Thursdayy night when it opens a four-game series against Hawai’i Hilo at 4 p.m. (HAST). The Cougars will then play a pair of games against Cal State San Marcos and UC San Diego before returning home against Cal Poly Pomona on April 29.