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Comeback Falls Short

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March 26, 2005
Micah McDaniel
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Biola 5
Azusa Pacific 4

LA MIRADA, Calif.-- Anthony Manuel’s RBI double to left in the bottom of the fifth scored what proved to be the winning run as the NAIA’s No. 16-ranked Biola completed a 3-game series sweep of Azusa Pacific with a 5-4 win in the finale Saturday in La Mirada.

With the sweep, the Cougars fall to 12-12 overall, 7-5 GSAC. It is their fifth straight loss. Biola, meanwhile, solidifies its hold on the GSAC’s Northern Division with its sixth straight win. The Eagles improve to 18-5, 13-2.

The Eagles jumped all over Cougar starter Daniel Sloan with 4 runs in their first at-bat. They took advantage of 2 walks and a hit-batsmen to 3 of the first 4 batters. Matt McQueen then delivered a bases clearing double to right, and Manuel capped it with an RBI single.

Joe Billheimer was 3-for-4 and started off the third with a single. Two batters later, Joe Morrison drove in courtesy-runner Titus Lester to make it 4-1.

Billheimer also led off the fifth with single through the right side. Biola starter Garet Hill then induced Johnny Soberal into a pop-up to third, and he struck out Morrison for the second out. Coba Canales, though, singled up the middle, and Jeff Staniland followed with his fifth home run of the season to left to tie the game at 4-4 and chase Hill off the hill.

Staniland, who was mired in a 9-for-62 (.145) slump coming into the weekend, hit his first home run since Feb. 26. He finished the 3-game series with 3 hits and 4 RBIs.

Five Biola relievers though combined to throw a near perfect 4.1 innings, allowing just 1 more hit the rest of the way, to preserve the 1-run lead.

Sloan went 2.1 innings, allowing 3 hits and 4 runs, although just 2 of them were earned. Kelly Strickland came on in relief and took the loss despite throwing a solid 5.2 innings, giving up just 3 hits and the 1 run.

Hill, who had given up just 3 earned runs in 34 innings this season, went just 4.2 innings, allowing 7 hits and 4 earned runs.

Canales finished with 2 hits, and Stephen Vogt extended his streak of reaching base safely to 68 straight game with a fourth-inning single.