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All Hail Hodsdon

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May 6, 2005
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. – Sophomore shortstop Scott Hodsdon did everything possible within the game of baseball to lead Azusa Pacific to a season-ending doubleheader sweep of GSAC rival Westmont. The Cougars downed the Warriors 12-5 in the first game before taking the night cap, 2-1, in extra innings.

Hodsdon was 4-for-9 on the day with a home run, 3 doubles, 4 RBIs and 2 game-winning hits. And for good measure, he pitched 2 shutout innings of relief to pick up the win in the second game.

In the opening game, Azusa Pacific rallied from a 2-run deficit with 9 unanswered runs, including 7 in the bottom of the eighth to escape with what was anything but an easy victory.

Hodsdon led off the third inning with his fifth home run of the season to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead. However, in their next at-bat, the Warriors ended Kelly Strickland’s bid for a shutout with 4 straight singles. Cody Gore then doubled to right center to plate 2 more runs and knot the game at 3-3.

In the top of the fifth, the Warriors parlayed 2 leadoff infield hits into 2 more to move out to a 5-3 advantage.

Hodsdon then teamed with his keystone mate Johnny Soberal on back-to-back doubles to get the Cougars even in the bottom of the fifth.

Freshman reliever Brad Boekestein, who was making just his fourth appearance of the season, settled down after the giving up the go-ahead runs, and held Westmont to just 2 hits over the final 4 innings, allowing the Cougars a final opportunity to win the game.

In that fateful eighth, freshman Jonothan Dravecky legged out a infield single to short, getting the advantage of a controversial close call at first base. After being moved to second on a sacrifice, Dravecky came home on Hodsdon’s double in the gap with what proved to be the game-winning run. Hodsdon’s shot chased Warrior starter Ray Click, and the Cougars took advantage of a shaky Warrior pen, collecting 5 more hits off 2 relievers to tally 6 more runs.

Boekestein retired the Warriors in order in the top of the ninth to pick up his first collegiate win, working a total of 5 innings in relief while yielding 5 hits and 2 runs.

Scheduled for only 7 innings, the second game matched 2 of the GSAC’s hardest throwing pitchers, Westmont’s Tyson Bagley and Azusa Pacific’s Jason Ray, and the duo locked horns deep into the game. In fact, neither pitcher gave up a hit until the fifth inning, though the Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Jeff Staniland led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. He came home on Nate Leiser’s sacrifice fly to center field.

Westmont took advantage of a wild Ray, who walked 7 batters in just 7 innings of work. In fact, the Warriors’ first hit of the game, a 2-out Eric Menees’ single to left, didn’t come until the fifth inning, but it sent home Dominick Paluso, who was on base via a free pass, tying the game at 1-1.

The Cougars didn’t get their first hit off Bagley until 1 out in the sixth when Soberal laced a double down the leftfield line. Azusa Pacific loaded the bases with 1 out but Bagley struck out Jeff Staniland and got Coba Canales to ground out. In the bottom of the seventh the Cougars again loaded the bases with 1 out but Soberal and the GSAC’s leading hitter Stephen Vogt were unable to cash in on the opportunity.

In all, Azusa Pacific managed just 3 hits, best explaining why 11 Cougars were left on base, including 7 in scoring position. It took Hodsdon to settle the matter by ripping his third double of the day down the left field line to send James O’Neill home from first base with the game-winning run with 1 out in the bottom of the ninth.

Hodsdon, who came on for Ray in the eighth inning, pitched 2 innings of 1-hit relief to pick up the win.

Like Hodsdon, Soberal finished the day 4-for-9 at the plate with a pair of doubles.

With the sweep, Azusa Pacific finishes the season at 22-22 and averts its first losing campaign since 1986. The Cougars close out GSAC play at 17-13.