Eagles, Turner rebound against Westmont, will face Azusa tomorrow
On the brink of tournament elimination, junior starting pitcher Nick Turner continued to baffle hitters with his slider, leading the Eagles to a 4-2 victory over Westmont College on Wednesday night.
Turner silences Westmont over eight innings
Coming off a complete game last week against San Diego Christian College, in which he struck out seven, Turner allowed just two runs on six hits to a Warriors team who lit up Azusa Pacific University’s starting pitcher Michael Finnigan yesterday. Finnigan had not lost until yesterday’s 12-4 loss to Westmont in which he gave up seven runs in just 2.2 innings.
“I felt really good out there,” said Turner, who struck out eight in as many innings. “I prayed before every pitch and the slider was working.
“Thankfully I didn’t give up nine runs like last time,” he said.
Last time Turner faced Westmont, he failed to make it out of the fourth inning, giving up nine runs on 12 hits. Three of those hits came courtesy of Westmont slugger Tim Leary, who hit two home runs off Turner back in March.
Biola took a four-run lead into the fourth before Leary took Turner deep for the third time this year, going opposite field to cut the Eagles lead in half. Turner then proceeded to retire 14 of the next 17 batters en route to his fifth win of the year.
“My arm was getting pretty tired and then catcher Mike Lopez called about 20 sliders because he knew these guys couldn’t hit them,” Turner said. “Towards the end I thought my arm was going to go with one of the sliders. Thankfully it didn’t.”
Lopez gives Biola insurmountable lead
Lopez’s two-run single in the third proved to be the game winner for Biola, giving the Eagles an early four-run lead. Junior center fielder Benji Sutherland and senior first baseman Mac Sullivan both had two-hit games, with Sullivan extending his hitting streak to a team-leading 13 games.
Sutherland — who led off the first inning with his team-leading 17th double of the year — sparked a possible comeback with a two-run, ninth-inning homer in last night’s 9-8 loss to The Master’s College.
“I saw the pitch up and was just trying to hit a line drive up the middle but it went a lot further,” Sutherland said with a smile. “I had hit the ball sharply all four times earlier so I went up there with the same approach.”
Sophomore right-hander Erick Allen secured the win in the ninth, recording his third save of the year to keep the Eagles alive in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament.
Both Biola and Azusa will be facing elimination in tomorrow’s matchup, which pits the two teams against each other for the first time since Feb. 25, the first week of GSAC play. First pitch will be at 2:15 p.m., with junior right-hander Jeff Grijalva on the mound for the Eagles.