AZUSA, Calif.-- Zach Pettikas has been a pleasant surprise all year. Thursday night, in his final outing of the season, he gave Azusa Pacific head coach Paul Svagdis a glimpse into the future, and it was bright.
The freshman Pettikas, a southpaw with a dominant change-up, kept Westmont off-balance all night. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth before settling for a 17-2 win over the Warriors on a soggy night in Azusa. It is the Cougars’ fifth win in the past 7 games.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 20-22 overall, 15-13 GSAC. Westmont falls to 5-36, 2-26.
Pettikas didn’t even become a starter until April 2, 27 games into the season. He just picked up his third straight win, during which he hurled 20.1 innings, allowing just 7 earned runs (3.09 ERA).
It wasn’t until the eighth that Westmont cracked him. After Anthony Martinez struck out, Micah Gallagher, Eric Menees and Steve Hardesty hit consecutive singles. Gallagher’s broke up the no-hitter. Hardesty’s ended the shutout.
Pettikas (6-6) finished with 8 lockdown innings, allowing just the 3 singles in the eighth. He threw 134 pitches in all, striking out 8 and walking just 1.
Aside from the eighth, the Warriors’ only other major threat came in the sixth. They put runners on the corners with no outs, taking advantage of a walk and a throwing error on a double play ball. However, Pettikas got Darren Fouret to line out to Hodsdon, who doubled Hardesty off first, before striking out Ryan McGill to end the inning.
The Cougars blew the game open in the third. Jonathan Dravecky and James O’Neill both delivered one-out singles, and after Coba Canales flew out, Scott Hodsdon ripped his fourth home run of the season over the left centerfield fence. Johnny Soberal then singled to left, and Stephen Vogt banged his fifth home run of the season to deep right field for a 10-0 Cougar lead.
Jonathan Evans took the loss for Westmont. He lasted just 2.2 innings, giving up 9 hits and 10 runs (6 earned). Both Evans and reliever Nate Nugent were victims of some shaky Westmont defense as the Warriors committed 5 errors, 4 of which led to runs.
The Cougars scored in every inning except the seventh, scoring 10 runs in the first 3 innings.
Vogt finished 4-for-4 with 4 RBIs. Eight of the 9 Cougar starters had at least one hit. Hodsdon was 2-for-5 with 4 runs and 3 RBIs. Soberal also was 2-for-5 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs.
Dravecky, Nate Leiser and Joe Morrison each had 2 hits apiece.