LA MIRADA, Calif. -- Senior right hander Andrew Abell tossed a complete game 4-hitter as Azusa Pacific defeated the NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Biola, 4-1, to gain a split of a GSAC doubleheader, Saturday afternoon, at Eagles’ Diamond.
Abell allowed only 5 baserunners in his 7 innings as he pitched the first complete game of the season for the Cougars. His outing was a terrific boost after Garrett Hill threw a complete game shutout for Biola in an 11-0 opening game win.
However, at the end of the day, Azusa Pacific had improved to 4-2 overall and, more importantly, showed resilience after losing a tough game. In the second game, the ballclubs were scoreless after 3 innings until the Cougars broke through with their first run of the day.
Chris Cardinale, who was moved into the leadoff spot for the first time this season, laid down a bunt inside the third base line for an infield hit. Stephen Vogt then followed with a double to right that scored Cardinale from first base to give Azusa Pacific a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Eagles pushed across an unearned run to tie the game at 1-1. But the Cougars answered in the sixth when James O’Neill led off the frame with a single. He advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Cardinale. He then moved to third after a passed ball with just 1 out. Scott Hodsdon then lashed an opposite field double to easily score O’Neill to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
Nick Beghtol and Coba Canales added run scoring hits as Azusa Pacific scored 3 times to take a 4-1 lead. From there it was all Abell, who scattered 4 hits and was not threatened seriously as he picked up his first win of the season.
In the opener, Hill was only had a couple of shaky moments in an otherwise solid pitching performance. He scattered 6 hits and did not issue a walk. Guy McDowell started for the Cougars and pitched well, giving up 2 runs in 5 innings of work. Things unraveled in the sixth inning when Biola scored 6 times to break open an otherwise close game.
Azusa Pacific returns home Feb. 16 when it hosts Fresno Pacific at Cougar Field. First pitch of the conference doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m.