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Late homer not enough for baseball in loss

The Eagles fall to Point Loma in another close game to split their series.  |  Caitlin Gaines / THE CHIMES

 

In yet another close game, baseball took a 5-4 loss at the hands of Point Loma Nazarene University, who forced a split with the victory and nudged the Eagles out of second place in the PacWest. Biola threatened several times late in the game but never could quite take the lead and wound up leaving 12 men on base.

“We’re still trying to learn how to be a dominant team in the league,” said manager Jay Sullenger. “I think it’s clear that we’ve demonstrated that we’re one of the better teams, but we still have room to work.”

HAMMAR KEEPS IT CLOSE

Senior pitcher Wyatt Haccou, usually the Eagles’ third starter, got the ball for the series finale. He allowed a run in each of the second and third innings, but the Eagles came back and tied it in the bottom of the third. With two runners on, sophomore third baseman Jacob Portaro laced an RBI single and senior shortstop Ricky Perez later came home on an error. Portero tried to score on the same play but got tagged for the third out.

The Sea Lions got the lead right back in the fourth with a two-run home run. Haccou ran into trouble again in the fifth, so Sullenger pulled him for redshirt freshman relief pitcher Christian Hammar. Hammar got a pop up to Portaro and a strikeout to end the threat, then pitched a perfect sixth. The Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but nothing came of it as Perez flew out. Point Loma finally got to Hammar in the seventh as an RBI single made it 5-2.

The Eagles had perhaps their best chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, senior first baseman Colton Worthington and junior outfielder Jerron Largusa singled and senior catcher River Fawley got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sullenger sent up freshman Jackson Collins to pinch hit, but Collins lined out to right field. Worthington tried to tag up and score, but PLNU’s right fielder made a perfect throw to home plate, nailing the veteran for the third out.

LARGUSA SNAPS SLUMP WITH HOMER

The Eagles finally scored in the ninth as Largusa hit one just over the 345-foot mark in left-center field for a two-run home run, trimming Biola’s deficit to one. The Eagles’ cleanup hitter had gone 3-14 in the series up to that point.

“[The homer] felt like a weight off my shoulders,” Largusa said.

With the Eagles down to their final out, Collins singled to put the tying run on base but Point Loma’s closer shut the door, handing Biola its second one-run loss in as many games.

The Eagles slip back into third place in conference, one game behind PLNU and one game ahead of Fresno Pacific University, who Biola split a series with earlier in April, and California Baptist University, who the Eagles travel to face in a series on April 5-7.

 

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