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Westmont Sweeps William Jessup, Clinches NAIA Playoff Berth

Westmont Baseball swept both games of a doubleheader against NAIA 8th-ranked William Jessup and clinched a spot in next month's Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament. The Warriors scored once in the ninth inning to win the opener by a score of 4-3, then rallied in the fifth inning to claim the nightcap 4-2.

The Warriors improve to 26-13 and 19-11 GSAC. William Jessup is 31-13 and 23-7.

David Gaydos started the first game for the Warriors against one of the most potent offenses in the NAIA. The Jessup lineup featured eight hitters with a batting average over .300, led by left fielder Joe Starick who entered the game with a GSAC-leading .451 average.

Gaydos pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out five and walking three. 

"David showed that he is continuing to push himself to be a leader in this program," said Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz. "He put himself in some rough spots, but he pitched out of them. He wasn't perfect, but he was a competitor and he was a winner. I am really proud of his performance today. He carried our team and gave us a chance to win the game. He kept attacking his plan and did a phenomenal job leading our team to that victory."

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning. With two away, Travis Vander Molen obliterated the first pitch he saw, sending the ball over the batting cage next to the right-field foul pole for a solo home run.

Jessup threatened again in the top of the sixth inning. A walk to left fielder Joe Starick was followed by a single to left by Braun. With runners at first and second and no outs, first baseman Noah Shackles hit a ground ball to third. Coffey scooped up the ball, stepped on third to retire Starick. Coffey then fired to Michael Stefanic in time to get Braun at second. Stefanic then relayed the ball to Vander Molen at first just ahead of Shackles to complete the 5-4-3 triple play.

The triple play was the first by the Warriors since April 27, 2011.

The fired-up Warriors carried their enthusiasm into the bottom half of the inning, beginning with a lead-off double into left field by Coffey. Bush delivered an infield single that allowed Coffey to take third. However, throw from the Jessup shortstop was wild and got passed Shackles at first, allowing Coffey to score and Bush to take second.

After right fielder Austin Muller was hit by a pitch, left fielder Brodie Weiss laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Muller and Bush to second and third respectively. Center fielder Bryce Morrison drove the ball left into field to bring in Bush on a sacrifice fly, giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the eighth, Koga pounded a two-run home run over the left field fence to pull Jessup to within one run. In the top of the ninth, Starick singled into right field to drive in Andrews Shaps from second base, tying the score at three.

In the bottom of the ninth, Curtis, who had been playing at shortstop for Jessup, took the hill for the northern Warriors. Stefanic greeted the new pitcher with a lead-off single on Curtis' first pitch. After Hayden Euper pinch ran for Stefanic, Coffey ground out to second as Euper advanced to second. Bush was intentionally walked before Muller struck out for the second out of the inning.

Senior Justin McPhail pinch hit for Hoyer-Pingle, who had taken over defensively for Weiss in left field. McPhail earned a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Senior Scott Singh then pinch hit for Morrison. Singh notched a game-winning RBI on a four-pitch walk.

Justin Sanders (5-1) took the bump in the second game and was awarded the win after pitching five and two-thirds innings. Sanders allowed two runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked two. Cory Dawson earned his second save of the year by retiring all four batters he faced - one by strike out – with just 12 pitches.

With six games remaining in the conference regular season, Westmont is currently in third place with a mark of 19-11 in GSAC play. Vanguard, which has won its last seven conference games, is one game ahead of the Warriors with a record of 20-10. The Warriors are four games behind Jessup who is in first place at 23-7.

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