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Beyer’s gem propels baseball past Bethesda

The senior ace led the way for the Eagles with one of the best starts of his career.  |  Caitlin Gaines / THE CHIMES

 

Judging by the way senior pitcher Micah Beyer overwhelmed the Bethesda University Flames on Feb. 16, nobody could have guessed that it marked his first ever Friday start as Biola’s ace. The right-hander cruised through eight dominant frames, retiring the first 15 batters he faced and finishing with a whopping 14 strikeouts as the Eagles once again found plenty of offense to cruise to a 13-2 win.

EARLY PERFECTION

Beyer set the tone early, racking up four strikeouts his first three innings. No Flames player even hit the ball in the air until a lazy pop fly to center field in the fourth. By then, thoughts of a possible perfect game had already started to enter the mind of his batterymate.

“The top of the lineup came up in the fourth and I was like, ‘Oh, wow,’” said junior catcher Anj Bourgeois. “We’re perfect through three, then we’re perfect through four, so I stopped talking to Micah in between innings.”

Beyer struck out the side in the fifth, only needing 10 pitches to do so. All eight of Beyer’s strikeouts at that point had come via his self-proclaimed best pitch: a virtually unhittable slider.

“He was able to command the slider very well,” said pitching coach Justin Hixson. “He was able to throw it for strikes, then throw it out of the zone [to get] swing-and-misses.”

The Eagles got on the board in the second inning when freshman outfielder Ryan Gallegos dashed home on a wild pitch, then again in the fourth when Gallegos scored on a sacrifice fly. Senior designated hitter Colton Worthington blew the game open in the fifth by walloping a towering three-run home run, his second of the year.

“We took some good at-bats throughout the game and had a lot of baserunners on,” said manager Jay Sullenger. “Guys like Ryan did a great job of finding ways on base. That’s what we preach here.”

LATE FIREWORKS

Beyer got two strikes on the first batter he faced in the sixth and went back to his slider, only for the pitch to hang over the plate and get walloped into the outfield for a double to end the perfect game.

“It was just one bad pitch,” Beyer said. “I threw two sliders in a row and it was 0-2, and I threw another slider. I should’ve thrown something else.”

In the seventh, Beyer settled back down, striking out the side again by relying more heavily on his fastball.

“It took me a while to get my fastball down, but once I got it, that helped a lot,” Beyer said.

For the second straight day, Biola’s bats punished Bethesda’s bullpen to turn the game into a late rout. The Eagles got a sacrifice fly from freshman first baseman Tyler Piston and an RBI single from senior outfielder Jerron Largusa in the seventh to bring their lead back up to five, then exploded for an eight-run eighth highlighted by a two-run single from freshman shortstop Connor Kostecka.

After a day wreaking havoc on the basepaths, Gallegos finished with four runs. Kostecka went 2-3 with three RBI while Piston contributed two hits and two RBI of his own. However, the day belonged to Beyer, who finished with two runs, four hits and no walks allowed while coming one strikeout shy of tying the school record of 15, set by current Kansas City Royals pitcher Trevor Oaks in 2013.

“Man, [Beyer]’s something special,” Bourgeois said. “Honestly, it was just his regular stuff today. That’s how good he is.”

 

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