Baseball stomps out Flames
After a shaky start, baseball held the visiting Bethesda University Flames scoreless over the last five innings to secure a 13-5 victory on Thursday. Biola’s third blowout victory in a row sees them begin the season in strong fashion.
EARLY ERRORS REMEDIED BY RELIEVERS
Biola went down 2-0 in the third inning, as Bethesda’s Nathan Munoz drove in a run off a double and then scored after a wild pitch from redshirt freshman starting pitcher Christian Hammar. The Eagles responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, but their defense fell apart in the fourth, commiting two errors and allowing three unearned runs after freshman relief pitcher Anthony Villegas entered the game for Hammar in the middle of the inning.
“I felt like I was a little bit shaky in the beginning,” Villegas said. “I just had to think back to my old days and just relax and calm down and throw strikes.”
Villegas did just that, taking down the next six batters he faced and grabbing three strikeouts along the way. The next two relievers, senior Jacob Battaglia and sophomore Josh Ludeman, followed suit as Bethesda did not score again after the fourth inning.
“What got us back in the game was [our relievers] being able to demonstrate two pitches for strikes,” said pitching coach Justin Hixson. “Once we showed that, [Bethesda] didn’t seem to hit the ball quite as well.”
VAN ANTWERP PLAYS HERO
Redshirt sophomore outfielder Andy Van Antwerp became the hero of the game, going 3 for 4 with two home runs. He hit his first one out down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth. Van Antwerp’s three-run shot tied the game at five and erased the lead Bethesda had created in the half-inning before. He added a two-run homer to left-center field in the seventh inning. Van Antwerp, who hopes for 20 homers on the season, bounced back from a rough stretch to begin the year.
“The first game wasn’t ideal for me, so it was nice to get out here and contribute to a win,” Van Antwerp said.
Senior shortstop Ricky Perez drove in four runs to contribute to the offensive display, as did senior catcher River Fawley and senior outfielder Phil Knapp, who also crossed home plate three times each on the day.
NARROWING THE ROSTER
The Eagles play four games in the next five days as they prepare for their spring break road series in Hawaii.
“One of the big things we’re doing this week is we’re trying to get some different guys looks at different places, because we obviously can’t take the whole team to Hawaii,” said manager Jay Sullenger. “So within that you’re trying to take the right group of guys... The message has been competing against ourselves and competing against the game. It shouldn’t matter who you’re playing, if you’re playing the game the right way, you’re gonna have success.”