Optimism reigns in Eagles’ strong start
Despite a damaged conference record, the baseball team has a quality start to the 2017 season. | Caroline Sommers/THE CHIMES
While many throughout California rejoice with the abundance of rain, the Biola baseball team did not share the joy, beginning their season with a number of rain delays. Although the Eagles fell to 0-2 in the Golden State Athletic Conference, the rain could not wash away their overall 7-3 start to the season.
The strength of Biola’s pitching staff — consisting of senior right-handed pitcher Jimmy Gallarda and junior right-handed pitchers Micah Beyer and Wyatt Haccou — led the Eagles to a three-game sweep of the University of Antelope Valley from Jan. 27-28. Through three starts, Gallarda has the lowest ERA in Biola’s rotation at 2.05. Pitching behind Gallarda, Beyer leads the conference with 27 strikeouts, as of Feb. 13.
Three games later, another rain delay shortened Biola’s conference opener against the Menlo College Oaks to a doubleheader. Despite the Eagles’ strength on the mound, Menlo’s pitching staff outmatched Biola 5-2 in the first game and 5-3 in game two.
“The biggest difference in the games was when Micah and I were pitching,” Gallarda said. “We both gave up early runs that put us down a little bit, but after that we felt great as a pitching staff… they put a couple of pretty good arms up there.”
In the middle of their loss in game two, the Oaks brought an end to sophomore outfielder Jerron Largusa’s six-game hitting streak. However, he coaxed a pair of walks to maintain his on-base streak, which is now up to nine games.
The series against Menlo provided the Eagles with valuable insight into one of the toughest teams in the conference. Experiencing firsthand the kind of team the Oaks are, the Eagles feel better prepared to face them later in the season.
“Overall, we’re not discouraged,” Gallarda said. “The biggest thing is to not give up those early runs. Against conference teams, especially when they’re good like Menlo, you really do need to take advantage of the base runners and the opportunities you get.”
In the next game, the Eagles shut out Providence Christian College 8-0 in senior right-handed pitcher Gabe Ihrig’s first start of the season. As the Eagles’ offense provided consistent runs, Ihrig put up six shutout innings and limited the Sea Beggars to four hits and one walk.
With eight runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Eagles sealed their 11-3 victory over Marymount California University. After five strong innings, Haccou held Marymount to one run and stands 2-1.