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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 10:02 pm | Fair 55º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Westmont Splits Doubleheader at Menlo

NAIA fifth-ranked Westmont split a Saturday doubleheader at Menlo to take three out of four from the Oaks.

Menlo won the opener 3-0 and Westmont took the nightcap 8-3.

"Of course, we want to win every game," said Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz, "but to get three out of four on the road with your everyday third baseman, clean-up hitter and captain out of the lineup, you have to feel good about that."

Ruiz was referring to last year's All-GSAC selection Luke Coffey who was unavailable for the series due to an injury.

Menlo's Parker Hall allowed just one hit over six innings. He walked four and struck out two. Jacob Ramirez was awarded the save after pitching three innings and allowing just two hits. Ramirez struck out one and did not surrender a walk.

The Oaks tallied 12 hits and scored three times in the third inning to account for all the scoring.

Westmont turned things around in the second game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Taylor Garcia delivered a lead-off single to center then took second when Tyler Roper reach as the result of an error by the Oaks.

With Paul Mezurashi taking over at first as a courtesy runner, Taylor Bush drove a single into center field to score Garcia and advance Mezurashi to third.

One out later, with Bush taking off for second, Nick Sablock drove a ball into center field. The ball flew over the center fielder's grasp and rolled to the centerfield fence, where it became unplayable. Sablock was awarded second base on what the official scorer ruled a two-base error. Mezurashi scored from second but Bush was sent back to third due to the unplayable ball. That gave Westmont a 2-0 lead.

With two away, Travis Vander Molen doubled to left center on a full count, driving in Bush and Sablock to give Westmont a 4-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the third, the Oaks pulled to within one.

"We went to our pen fairly early trying to hold on to that lead," said Ruiz. "We had a number of pitchers that did an incredible job of keeping the score where it was."

Having escaped imminent danger in the previous four innings, Westmont secured an insurance policy by pushing four runs across home plate in the seventh and final inning. After Garcia reached on a lead-off walk, he advanced to second when Roper was hit by a pitch. Daniel Netz took over for Roper as a courtesy runner before both runners advanced on a balk. Bush was then intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs.

"Taylor Garcia sparked our offense," asserted Ruiz. "After a stagnant offensive effort for our team in the first inning, he comes into the second game with a lead-off single that led to a four-run innings. In the seventh inning, he draws a lead-off walk when we needed a little momentum."

On the eighth pitch of his at bat, Bryce Morison ripped a double down the left-field line to drive in Garcia and Netz and move Bush to third. A sacrifice fly by Sablock scored Bush for the third run of the inning. An infield hit by Leach moved Morison to third before Vander Molen produced the second sacrifice fly of the inning to bring Morison home.

Reid returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and collected his third save of the weekend and seventh of the season. After retiring Maxwell on a ground out, Shane Jones doubled down the left field line. However, Reid struck out the next two batters to finish the game.

"This weekend was the best I've seen Bailey," noted Ruiz. "He was composed and it was a great sign of his maturity as a pitcher. His continuing to develop and is moving in the right direction."

Cannon was credited his first win on the season after pitching one and two-third scoreless innings while allowing two hits.

With the results, Ruiz moves to within two games of tying John Kirkgard for the most coaching wins in program history at 281. Ruiz' record of 279-206-1 gives him the second-highest winning percentage in program history at .575, and the best among those who coached more than one year. Ruiz is in his 10th year as head coach of the Warrior program.

Next week, the Warriors will host #15 Vanguard (18-7, 8-4) in a four-game series at Russ Carr Field. Westmont is currently in first place in the GSAC standings with a one-game lead over Vanguard and Hope International (15-13, 10-6).

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