SAN MARCOS, Calif.-- For the second straight game Cal State San Marcos threatened Azusa Pacific’s lead in the bottom of the ninth, but instead of another walk off win for CSUSM, the Cougars held on for a 6-2 victory Friday afternoon. Cal State San Marcos, which scored three runs in the last inning of Thursday’s 3-2 defeat of Azusa Pacific, loaded the bases to put the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but instead of another sour road-ending for the Cougars, Mike Fairchild induced a game-ending groundout to secure a split in the two-game non-conference series.
Junior southpaw Adam McCreery picked up his fifth win of the year (5-2), giving up one earned run in six innings. McCreery struck out four batters, while allowing just two hits. He also walked five batters, but pitched well out of the stretch to strand four batters to leave the game with Azusa Pacific leading 6-2.
Jordan Brower and Matt Kimmel each drove in two runs, while sophomore outfielder Mitch Dergazarian scored twice after batting 3-for-5. Brower and Daniel Martin also added two hits apiece.
Dusty Sanderson’s RBI single in the sixth inning pushed Azusa Pacific ahead 3-2, and proved to be the game-winner, while Brower, Kimmel, and Joe Huthsing each drove in a run in the seventh inning to stretch the Cougars’ advantage to 6-2.
Azusa Pacific tallied 11 hits in the win, while four Cougar pitchers combined to hold Cal State San Marcos to five hits and one earned run. The three Cougar relievers pitched three scoreless frames. Azusa Pacific gave up just three hits combined over the course of the seventh, eighth, and ninth, with Josh Grajeda inheriting one runner in a seventh inning where he struck out the side to keep Azusa Pacific’s lead at 3-2.
Grajeda struck out his fourth consecutive batter to lead off the eighth, but a walk brought in Seth Gill, who walked the first batter he faced to put runners on first and second with one out. The freshman, however, forced a fly out and line out to preserve Azusa Pacific’s 6-2 advantage.
In the ninth Fairchild got the leadoff batter out on a grounder to short, but gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases for Cal State San Marcos in the ninth for the second consecutive game. But Fairchild settled in, forcing a pop out and fielder’s choice to seal Azusa Pacific’s win.
The Cougar offense got on the board in the third inning, using Dergazarian’s leadoff double and a subsequent single from Martin to score on Kimmel’s RBI groundout to third. In the fifth Azusa Pacific grabbed its first lead of the day after Joseph Daris was beaned, stole second, and scored on Brower’s single through the left side.
After Cal State San Marcos tied the game up in the bottom of the fifth, the Cougars re-assumed the lead in the sixth thanks to Sanderson’s RBI single up the middle.
Azusa Pacific, which has posted a 9-9 record through the first 18 games of its current 20-game road trip, will wrap up its regular season road schedule Saturday with a doubleheader against UC San Diego. The Cougars and Tritons split the first two of the four-games series earlier this season in Azusa.
Azusa Pacific will return home to host Cal Poly Pomona on Tuesday, and will wrap up the regular season with a Pacific West Conference series against California Baptist, beginning Thursday.