AZUSA, Calif. -- For all the reasons that getting swept by Point Loma Nazarene over the weekend was frustrating to Azusa Pacific all the opposite factors seemed to float to the surface as the Cougars dropped a pair of games against Culver-Stockton (Mo.).
Almost untouchable pitching and a lack of scoring offense gave way to a tought day on the mound and a bevy of runs. In the end, it translated into 2 losses by scores of 16-10 and 8-4, on an overcast day at Cougar Field on Tuesday.
The opening game had unbelievable ebb and flow to it as the Wildcats built a 10-0 lead in no small part to an 8-run fourth inning outburst. Then the Cougars battled back with 1 run in the fourth, 6 more in the fifth and 3 in the sixth to storm all the way back to tie the game.
Rather than panic, Culver-Stockton put together a 6 run rally in the top of the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
The bottom third of the Wildcats order did significant damage against the Cougars as Zach Walton drove in 3 runs with a pair of hits. Mike Parks had 2 hits that drove in 2 runs. He also scored twice.
Several Cougars had outstanding games at the plate despite the defeat. Josh Jeleniowski made his first 2 starts of the season catching both ends of the doubleheader and homered and doubled in the opener. Stephen Vogt launched an opposite field blast over the left centerfield fence for a 3-run homer. It was his fifth home run of the season.
Coba Canales had a key 2-out, 2-run single to tie the game at 10-10 in the sixth. He finished with 3 RBIs in the game.
In the second game, the Wildcats jumped on Azusa Pacific starter Ben Jones with a pair of runs in the third inning. However, the Cougars answered back with an RBI single by Vogt and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Scott Hodsdon to tie the score. Vogt finished the game 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
But Culver-Stockton continued to keep the offensive pressure up as they tallied 2 runs in the fourth. RBI singles by Walton and Tobirus Bell plated runs to put the Wildcats ahead, 4-2.
Azusa Pacific answered with a run in bottom of the frame. Canales led off with a smoking line drive that bounded up against the fence in left field for a double. Titus Lester followed with a single that moved Canales to third. With Jeleniowski at the plate, Lester broke for second and when catcher Brandon Crisp sprung out of his stance to try to throw him out Canales sprinted home. The throw down to second base was to late to get Lester and Canales was able to score as the throw home bounced in late and up the line to make it a 4-3 game.
However, the Wildcats responded with 3 more runs in the fifth to break the game open. One of the more effective weapons they used was aggressive base running as they stole 8 bases on the day.
They also used the longball to their advantage as Bobby Armstrong and Scott Deen each went deep. It was the first 2 homers of the season for the Wildcats.
Nate Beuster pitched 5 innings for the win.
The losses drop Azusa Pacific to 12-8 on the season. It will next travel to The Master’s tomorrow for a game at 2:30 p.m. as GSAC play resumes.