AZUSA, Calif. -- Junior centerfielder Joseph Daris tripled twice in the Azusa Pacific baseball team’s regular season finale to earn a Pacific West Conference series split against No. 17 ranked California Baptist, which hit three home runs to win game one of the double-header.
After the Cougars dropped the third game of the series 9-3, Daris led off game two with a triple into right center field, and was driven home by sophomore leftfielder Mitch Dergazarian to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Daris later had a one-out triple on a gapper into left center field, and was again driven in by Dergazarian, which lifted the Cougars to a 3-1 victory.
Meanwhile, junior Zach Hedges shut down the California Baptist (37-13, 20-12) offense in his 4.2 innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. Hedges didn’t allow an earned run, and struck out three batters while surrendering only four hits. Luis Martinez pitched two-thirds of a frame before Josh Grajeda came in to get his second save of the season in 1.2 innings.
The Cougars also scored in the fourth inning after a double by Danny Gonzalez set up runners on second and third with one out for Joe Huthsing. The sophomore catcher then hit a sinking line drive into left center field to plate Matt Kimmel.
Azusa Pacific (28-21, 20-12) finished game two with eight hits as David Herd picked up the loss. Leftfielder Michael Fagan led the Lancer offense with a pair of hits and a stolen base.
In game one, CBU scored nine runs on 15 hits, including a trio of home runs. After the Cougars took a 2-0 lead on RBI-singles from Kimmel and Gonzalez, the Lancers erased the advantage with three runs in the next frame.
Mark Sanchez, who scored three times in the game, drove a two-run blast over the left field fence to increase the lead to 5-2. Nathan Antoun added a solo shot in the fifth inning, and leadoff hitter Blair Moore also had a two-run home run in the sixth inning to make it an 8-3 game.
Tyson Miller earned his sixth win of the year on the mound, allowing just three runs over seven innings with seven strikeouts. Ethan Mack came into the game in relief for two scoreless innings of work with a strikeout.
Andy Crowley finished the day with six hits for CBU, but was thrown out twice by catcher Andy Bissel. Leftfielder Jake Arledge went 2-for-3 with a run and RBI as well for the Lancers in game one.
Adam McCreery was saddled with his third loss of the season, giving up four earned runs over two innings of work. Seth Gill threw two scoreless innings in relief and Michael Fairchild tossed the final pair of innings, and had no earned runs against.
The two teams close the regular season in a tie for second place in the PacWest, six games behind first place Dixie State. Up next for Azusa Pacific is the NCCAA West Regional, where the Cougars will host Fresno Pacific in a best two-of-three series, which begins with a doubleheader on Thursday followed by the deciding game three on Friday if necessary.