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Baseball rolls over Providence Christian College

The Eagles never looked back after a big third inning, winning 14-1.  |  Austin Green / THE CHIMES

 

On the eve before his first start of the 2018 season, senior starting pitcher Wyatt Haccou posted a picture on his instagram captioned, “I didn’t come to take part, I came to take over.” He did exactly that on Feb. 14, shutting down Providence Christian College’s lineup to the tune of no runs, two hits, one walk and four strikeouts over 6.2 innings. The Eagles’ bats took care of the rest, riding two big innings to a 14-1 rout of the Sea Beggars.

HITTERS COME ALIVE IN THIRD

“Physically, I was struggling a little bit in the beginning,” Haccou said. “[Later] it felt like a breeze… I just had to keep my composure and throw strikes and I knew we would get it.”

Providence starter Anthony Reynoso matched Haccou’s dominance at first, only allowing two baserunners over the first two innings. Senior shortstop Ricky Perez led off the third with a walk, stole second base, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly then scored on an error for the first run of the game. Senior third baseman Colton Worthington followed that up with a towering two-run home run to left field, evidently rattling Reynoso, who hit his next batter, sophomore third baseman Jacob Portaro.

The wheels fell off from there: freshman outfielder Ryan Gallegos singled up the middle, allowing Portaro to score on an error, followed by a single from freshman outfielder Brandon Cody and another HBP to freshman designated hitter Jackson Collins to load the bases. Perez, batting for his second time in the inning, worked another walk to bring hom Gallegos and give the Eagles a 5-0 lead.

Biola tacked on more runs in the fourth thanks to Worthington, who whacked an RBI double then scored on another Providence error.

SWIZEK REDEEMS HIMSELF

The rout was on from there, as the Eagles added another run in the fourth before exploding for six runs in the seventh to end up with a 14-0 lead. Haccou settled in, cruising until he issued his first walk of the game on his 85th pitch. Eagles manager Jay Sullenger pulled him in favor of senior relief pitcher Nick Swizek, who allowed eight runs in a single inning during Biola’s wild, rain-shortened game against Providence last year. Swizek gave up one run on two hits over 1.1 innings in this one, losing the shutout but getting some redemption. Senior relief pitcher Jake Battaglia threw a flawless eight-pitch ninth to close the game.

Several Eagles had multi-hit games, including Gallegos, who had two hits, a run and an RBI in his first collegiate start. Worthington had two extra-base hits and two runs along with three RBI, while senior outfielder Jerron Largusa continued his hot start to the season with three hits, two runs and an RBI. In a testament to the team’s depth, the Eagles’ rallies in the third and seventh innings were both sparked by the bottom of their lineup.

“There is a lot of depth,” Sullenger said. “We don’t really feel like we have a true bottom of the order. We feel really good about our guys from one to nine.”

The 2018 Eagles’ depth will get their biggest test yet in a four-game home series with Bethesda University of California, starting Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.

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