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Baseball sweeps doubleheader and series

The Eagles get their first series win in almost two months.  |  Photo Courtesy of Biola Athletics

 

Just one week after a brutal stretch at California Baptist University handed baseball its first series loss in the PacWest, the Eagles got back on track by cruising over the Holy Names University Hawks in an April 14 doubleheader for their first ever conference sweep. Biola staved off late HNU rallies in each game, winning 13-12 and 6-3 respectively.

EAGLES STRIKE EARLY AND OFTEN IN GAME ONE

The Eagles used some aggressive baserunning to bring two runs home in the first inning. Both scores came on stolen base attempts aided by costly HNU errors. Biola then poured it on with seven more runs over the next two frames, starting with senior catcher River Fawley’s solo home run in the second.

Meanwhile, junior pitcher Devin Sutorius enjoyed his best start of the season after beginning the year in the bullpen. Sutorius cruised through the first two innings and got out of a jam in the third thanks to a great diving stop by sophomore third baseman Jacob Portaro.

“That was super clutch,” Sutorius said of Portaro’s play. “Great team effort.”

Sutorius allowed two runs in the fourth, but by then the Eagles had scored nine and got their 10th in the bottom of the fourth when freshman first baseman Tyler Piston hit a solo homer of his own. Meanwhile, Sutorius finished with two runs allowed on three hits while striking out two and walking two over six innings, his longest outing of the year.

“It’s been a good transition [to starting],” Sutorius said. “I’m trusting the process, trusting the coaches, and hopefully I’ll get to where I need to be.”

The Eagles led 13-5 heading into the ninth, but redshirt freshman reliever Honus Kindreich continued his season-long struggles by allowing seven runs in just two-thirds of an inning to bring the score within one. However, junior reliever Dallas Burk came in and got the final out on just one pitch to clinch the Eagles’ first series victory since March 2-3 in Hilo, Hawaii.

“When you’re scoring every inning, it’s a great feeling,” said manager Jay Sullenger. “It sets a tone.”

HACCOU STAYS HOT

Senior starting pitcher Wyatt Haccou got the start for the series finale and nearly threw a complete game. The Eagles again opened the scoring on an RBI double from Portaro in the third, then added two more in the fifth off of a sacrifice fly and bases loaded walk.

Haccou started with five shutout innings, but HNU finally got to him with a two-run home run in the sixth to bring the deficit within one. The Eagles responded in the bottom of the inning, when senior first baseman Colton Worthington started the three-run frame with an RBI single to retake the team lead in RBIs with 37. Freshman pinch hitter Jackson Collins and junior outfielder Jerron Largusa added a sac fly and RBI double respectively.

Haccou got the first out of the seventh and final inning but put runners on the corners, prompting Sullenger to pull him in favor of sophomore reliever Josh Ludeman. Ludeman allowed a run to score and loaded the bases but recorded the final two outs of the game. The win gave the Eagles their first sweep ever in PacWest play, moving them one game back of CBU for third place in the conference standings.

“It’s our goal every weekend, to be honest,” Sullenger said. “We’ve fallen short for a while, so it’s nice to finally have kind of arrived in that regard.”

Biola now has a 23-15 overall record and is 17-11 in conference. The fourth-place Eagles will host Dixie State University, the team directly behind them in the standings, for a four-game set starting on April 19 at 3 p.m.

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