Azusa Pacific 1
AZUSA, Calif.-- It’s been quite a while since Azusa Pacific has beaten Biola—April 1, 2003 to be exact—and now the Cougars will have to wait at least one more day.
The NAIA’s No. 9-ranked Eagles took advantage of 11 walks and used a 4-run third inning to break the game open before cruising to a 9-1 GSAC win over the somnambulistic Cougars in the first of a 3-game series Friday afternoon in Azusa.
It is the Eagles’ ninth straight win over the Cougars, and their ninth straight GSAC win as they improve to 28-7 overall, 17-2 GSAC, taking an 8-game lead over the Cougars in the GSAC’ Northern Division with 9 games remaining.
The Cougars suffer their 11th loss in the past 13 games and fall to 14-18, 9-10.
It appeared as though Biola starter Reid Hamblet didn’t have his best stuff out of the gate as the Cougars got to him for 4 hits and a run in the first 2 innings. The damage could have been much worse, though, as the Cougars stranded 5 runners on base in the first 2 innings before settling for a 1-1 tie.
However, Hamblet settled in and once again became his dominant self. Plus, he got all the support he needed in the third. The Eagles loaded the bases with one out when Chris Willard grounded right to third baseman James O’Neill, who threw home to force Matt McQueen for the second out. Stephen Vogt’s throw to first for what would have been an inning-ending double-play banged off Willard’s head and into right field. Frank Thomas came around to score from second, and Mark Streelman, who earlier walked, moved to third, putting runners on the corners with 2 outs.
Anthony Manuel finished 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, and he got the first RBI when he squirted a ball through the right side to score Streelman to make it 3-1. Blake Whiteman then singled to virtually the same place as Manuel did one batter before to load the bases before the Eagles got back-to-back bases loaded walks to take a 5-1 lead.
Zach Pettikas started for the Cougars and lasted just 2.2 innings. He gave up 5 hits, 5 walks and 5 runs, but just 1 of the runs was earned. Jake Boyle relieved him and went 1.2 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) as the Eagles scored another in the fourth and 3 more in the fifth.
Hamblet went 7 solid innings, and after giving up 4 solid hits in the first 2 innings, he gave up just 2 more hits the rest of the way. Mike Casserly (8th inning) and Charlie Watson (9th inning) cleaned things up for Hamblet, who moves to 6-3 on the year.
Scott Hodsdon was 2-for-4 with a run for the Cougars. He led off the second with a double off the top of the left field fence that missed going out by less than foot and later scored on James O’Neill’s sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at 1-1 in the second.
Biola took a 1-0 lead in its first at-bat when McQueen hit a chopper over O’Neill’s head that scored Richard Fixsen, who led off the game with a single, from second.
Thomas was 3-for-6 with a run for the Eagles as they pounded out 12 hits, 10 of them singles. The Eagles left 16 runners on base.
Jonathan Dravecky had 2 hits, and Vogt extended his streak of reaching base safely to 76 straight games with an eighth inning single off Casserly.