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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 4:29 pm | Partly Cloudy 60º

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

Westmont Sweeps Doubleheader For Series Win Over San Diego Christian

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) Westmont Baseball (18-11, 11-9 GSAC) won both ends of today’s Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader versus the Hawks of San Diego Christian (11-18-1, 6-14 GSAC). The Warriors took the first game 8-2 and the second game 6-5.

The games were played at Russ Carr Field, but due to the fact that the series was moved from San Diego to Santa Barbara due to rain the Hawks played as the home team.

David Gaydos took the mound for the Warriors and set the tone for the day. He threw eight strong innings and gave up two runs – one earned. He walked one, struck out seven, and gave up eight hits as he earned his third win of the season to go along with three losses.

Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz said, “For Gaydos, that was by far his best start of the year. I was really excited to see him get into a rhythm today.”

San Diego Christian struck first in the bottom of the third. Gavyn Schmidt led off the inning with a fly ball down the left field that went in and out of William Hoyer-Pingle’s glove. Schmidt would reach second on the error. David Blanset bunted Schmidt over to third. Tyler Schindel hit a groundball to first base that allowed Schmidt to score the unearned run.

The Hawks added their second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Culp singled to right field to start the inning. After a groundout, Jon Larson singled to left field – advancing Culp to second. Mario Morales followed with an RBI-single to right field to score Culp and put the Hawks up 2-0.

Westmont responded with two runs in the top of the fifth. With one out, Bryce Morison was hit by a pitch. Tyler Roper walked – Hayden Euper came in to pinch run. Travis Vander Molen walked to load the bases with one out. Taylor Garcia picked up and RBI as he was walked – allowing Morison to come in for the first run of the day for Westmont. After a strike out, Michael Stefanic was walked – bringing in Euper. Westmont tied the game 2-2 without recording a hit in the inning.

The Warriors’ offense exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh. Roper led off with a walk and Euper again came in to run for him. Euper would steal second base. After a line out, Garcia singled up the middle to score Euper. Taylor Bush came in as a pinch hitter and singled to right field. Stefanic was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Luke Coffey hit a two RBI-single over the shortstop’s head to score Garcia and Bush.

Dante Poleselli came in to pinch run for Stefanic at second base. Austin Muller singled to right field to again load the bases. Henry Hedeen came in to pinch hit and received an RBI as he was hit by a pitch – allowing Poleselli to score. Morison reached on a fielder’s choice as he hit a groundball to third base – Muller was out at third and Coffey scored. After a Roper walk, pinch hitter Zack Mendez hit an RBI-single to shortstop to score Hedeen – bringing the score to 8-2 in favor of the Warriors.

Left-hander Cory Dawson came in to finish the game in the bottom of the ninth. He struck out two and induced a groundout to give Westmont the game one victory.

Justin Sanders took the mound for the Warriors in game two. He gave up two runs through six innings of work, while striking out three and walking two. He picked up his third win of the season to go with one loss. Ruiz said, “Sanders was today who he’s been all year. With the exception of one mistake pitch, he had a phenomenal outing.”

Leo Soto started on the mound for the Hawks. Soto was perfect through the first four and two third innings of his outing. Morison singled on a drag bunt to break up the perfect game.

Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard until late in the game. All 11 runs were scored in the final two frames of the seven-inning game. The Warriors truck first in the top of the sixth. Kyle Soria reached first on an infield single to the shortstop – Euper came in to courtesy run. Vander Molen bunted Euper over to the third. Taylor Garcia finished the manufactured run with an RBI-single to left field to score Euper.

Westmont would, howver, give up the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Bobby Mead led off with a single through the left side to bring up Caeden Barnes. Barnes hammered a hung curveball over the left field fence for a two-run home run – giving the Hawks a 2-1 lead heading into the final inning of play.

In the top of the seventh, Coffey led off with a single through the left side – Euper came on as the pinch runner. Muller hit a groundball to second – he reached on fielder’s choice and Euper was out at second. Hoyer-Pingle would come in to run for Muller. Morison singled through the left side. Hedeen hit a sharp groundball that the shortstop misplayed – the ball ended up in center field. This allowed Hoyer-Pingle to score and Morison to advance to third.

Soria then squared for a safety squeeze – bunting the ball towards the pitcher. The pitcher bobbled the ball allowing Morison to score and Soria to reach safely on the error – Bush pinch ran for Soria. Vander Molen singled through the right side to score Hedeen and advanced Bush to third – Vander Molen would take second on the throw. Garcia followed suit with another RBI-single to right field. Bush scored on the play, Vander Molen advanced to third and Garcia took second on the throw.

Mendez drew a pinch hit walk to load the bases. After a pitching change for the Hawks, Stefanic hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Vander Molen and finish the five-run inning. The Warriors went into the bottom of the seventh with a 6-2 lead.

Lance Simpson came in to close out the series for the Warriors. Joel Pedretti was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.  Simpson struck out the next two batters. Schindel drew a two-out walk. Mead then tripled to center field scoring both runners and bringing the score to 6-4.

Barnes then hit an RBI-single to left field and advanced to second on error by the left fielder – putting the tying run in scoring position. Simpson sawed off Culp, who hit a blooper that Stefanic raced 20 feet towards the first base line for. Stefanic laid out to make the catch – sealing the game and the series in favor of the Warriors.

Ruiz said, “It’s not something we talk a whole lot about, but I think it’s really important for our guys that we found a way to come back and win that game because it gives us the series tiebreaker. I put that series victory on our starting pitching. We didn’t have to tax our bullpen – everybody was fresh.

“I thought we had a lot more competitive at-bats today, but nothing was falling for us. We were hitting the ball on the nose all day and I felt like we couldn’t get anything to drop. We brought the team up and said that we had to stick with our approach. This is where we need to be. It’s not falling our way right now, but there’s a difference, we’re competitive and let’s stick with it. I think we got rewarded for that late in both of those games.

“I think we stayed even and overall we were more competitive. We did a little bit better job on the short side of things with our bunting and hit and runs. I thought we executed a little better there today. I think those things ended up being a difference maker in those big innings,” finished Ruiz.

Westmont returns to Russ Carr Field this coming Tuesday to face Division I opponent Dartmouth (N.H.) First-pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

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