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Baseball splits series with FPU

The Eagles’ offense proves inconsistent in Fresno.  |  Photo Courtesy of Biola Athletics

 

Baseball got its first taste of PacWest action on the mainland on March 15-17, heading up to Fresno, Calif. and dodging the rain for a four-game series against the Fresno Pacific University Sunbirds. The Eagles went 2-2 on the trip, splitting Thursday and Saturday doubleheaders to move their conference record to 8-4 on the young season.

EAGLES REBOUND FROM WALKOFF

Senior starting pitcher Micah Beyer got the start in game one and allowed a run in the second, but senior shortstop Ricky Perez’s RBI single in the top of the fifth tied the game. However, FPU responded by tagging Beyer for four runs in the bottom of the fifth, becoming the first team to score more than three earned runs off Biola’s ace this season. The Eagles later came back to tie it on sophomore third baseman Jacob Portaro’s two-run single in the top of the eighth. Sophomore relief pitcher Josh Ludeman took over for Beyer in the bottom of that inning and got out of a bases-loaded jam, but could not keep the momentum going with the game still tied in the ninth. Ludeman gave up a leadoff single, and the Sunbirds runner later scored on a wild pitch to hand the Eagles a 6-5 walk-off loss.

Biola came out with a roar in the March 15 nightcap, however. The Eagles set a new school record with runs scored in an inning by crossing the plate an astounding 14 times in the opening frame. Three-run home runs by Portaro and senior catcher River Fawley highlighted the outpouring of offense in the first inning. Senior first baseman Colton Worthington also collected three RBIs as he, like most of his teammates, came to the plate twice in the frame. From there, Biola cruised to a 23-5 victory in seven innings. Junior starter Troy Stainbrook had a solid bounce-back performance from his rough outing at the University of Hawaii at Hilo two weeks before, allowing one earned run through five frames against FPU.

BATS STRUGGLE

Senior starter Wyatt Haccou also rebounded nicely from a tough start in Hawaii, pitching into the seventh inning during the first game of March 17. Freshman outfielder Brandon Cody singled home Perez in the top of the seventh to tie the game at one, but Haccou walked the second batter he faced in the bottom of the frame. That prompted manager Jay Sullenger to pull him in favor of Ludeman, who promptly gave up a two-run home run that proved the difference in Biola’s 3-1 loss.

Junior starter Dallas Burk also turned in a quality outing in the series’ final game, shutting out FPU over 5.2 innings. This time, the bats backed up their starter, getting three-run homers by freshman designated hitter Ryan Gallegos in the third and Perez in the sixth. The Sunbirds threatened in the seventh by scoring three runs off junior reliever Devin Sutorius, but the Eagles added two more in the ninth and senior closer Daniel Jang got the last six outs to seal the 8-3 victory.

The Eagles’ series split means they still have yet to lose two games in a row this season. They are now 16-6 on the year and will play the Academy of Art University on March 22 to start their first ever PacWest home series.

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