Baseball splits doubleheader at Vanguard
Senior Vinnie Fayard slides to safety at the March 8, 2012, game against Vanguard University. Biola won two games against Vanguard on March 7 and 8, with final scores at 8-2 and 6-1. | Tyler Otte/THE CHIMES
A four-run ninth inning rally helped Vanguard University defeat Biola to win their first Golden State Athletic Conference game of the season, 6-5 in the first half of Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader.
Despite holding a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, Biola pitchers junior Karl Stuck and junior J.T. Mickelson surrendered four runs, including the winning run off a suicide squeeze from Vanguard’s Eric Sanchez that scored the runner from third.
The loss spoiled a solid outing from junior Nick Turner, who struck out five over 6.2 innings, only giving up one run.
“The curveball worked a lot more today,” Turner said, whose curveballs left batters looking baffled at the plate. “I used my legs more.”
Biola took a 2-1 lead in the fifth courtesy of a two-run double from sophomore right fielder Michael Annunziata, eventually extending the lead to three before their ninth inning collapse.
Martinez and Ryan keep Lions in check
Head coach John Verhoeven made a change in the pitching rotation heading into Saturday’s games, inserting sophomore left-hander Javier Martinez into the lineup to replace senior Kevin Ryan.
The two ended up combining to pitch the entirety of game two, helping the Eagles to salvage the doubleheader, defeating Vanguard 7-3.
Martinez pitched the first four innings, striking out seven batters while giving up three runs, before being replaced by Ryan who surrendered no runs over the next three innings to close out the game.
Ryan, whose nine-out save helped Martinez capture his first win of the season, said proper breathing contributed to his efforts on the mound.
“I was just concentrating on breathing,” Ryan said, who was pulled from the rotation early in the week after a couple rough outings. “I just came in and tried to do my job and help the team to get us a win.”
Biola opened up a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a three-run shot off the bat of senior first baseman Mac Sullivan. His third home run of the year cleared the right field fence, which was arguably the only accessible part of the yard due to the strong winds coming in from right field.
An RBI single from senior Vinnie Fayard and a sacrifice fly from senior Mike Lopez brought home two insurance runs for the Eagles in the top of the seventh before Ryan secured the win a half inning later.
The doubleheader split keeps Biola at .500 with a 6-6 record in GSAC play following a pair of home wins against Vanguard on Thursday and Friday, the first of which featured a complete game gem from senior starting pitcher Jeff Grijalva.
The Eagles will now prepare for a four-game non-conference series with California State University San Marcos, starting next Thursday, March 15 with a doubleheader in San Marcos where senior third baseman Drake Fages will look to make his return to the lineup.
“It was nice putting a jersey on,” Fages said, who pinch-hit for senior Nick Covyeau in the fifth inning of game two, drawing a walk.
Fages had his first plate appearance of the season in Friday’s game in another pinch-hit situation, also recording a walk.