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Westmont Takes Two from Occidental

Maddox cleans up at the plate as Warriors beat Tigers, 11-4, and then scratch out 5-4 win in 11 innings.

Freshman center fielder Taylor Maddox had six hits in 10 plate appearances and received an intentional walk as Westmont won both games of a doubleheader against Occidental on Saturday at Russ Carr Field. After winning the first game 11-4, Westmont scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and another in the 11th to pick up the 5-4 victory.

Freshman right-hander Keith Johnson picked up his first collegiate win in the first game, pitching three and a third innings in relief while allowing one run on three hits. Johnson struck out three and walked one.

"(John) Evans started and pitched four and two-thirds innings," Westmont assistant coach Mel
said. "It’s too bad he had to come out, we would have liked him to get the win. But Johnson came in, put out the fire and took us into the ninth.

"(Matt) Moore, The Terminator, came in a closed it out for us. Those were his first innings pitched in college and he did a good job — he hung up a zero."

Evans allowed three runs on four hits in four and two-thirds innings. He also struck out three while allowing only one walk. Moore, a freshman from Oaks Christian High, allowed just on hit in the ninth inning, walked one and struck out one.

Westmont (7-14) scored one in the first and four in the third to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the opener. Maddox led off the first inning with a double to center field and took third base when senior second baseman Anthony Martinez ground out to second. Senior designated hitter Cody Chapman also ground out to second, allowing Maddox to score.

In the third inning, freshman right fielder Brent Meschuk led off and reached on a throwing error by Occidental pitcher Matt Jones. Maddox moved Meschuk to second on a single through the right side and Martinez loaded the bases on a bunt single. With one away, junior second baseman Mark Boujikian knocked a two RBI-single up the middle to score Meschuk and Maddox. A sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Colten Christianson allowed Martinez to score from third.

Boujikian reached second base with two away on an RBI single through the right side by freshman third baseman Jordan Bottenfield. With catcher Kyle Noe at the plate, Jones unleashed a wild pitch. Occidental catcher Adam Franks tried to throw out Boujikian at third, but the throw went into the dirt then skidded down the left field line as Boujikian dashed for home and scored the fourth run of the inning.

Occidental (8-13) narrowed the margin in the fifth inning by scoring three runs with two away. A two-RBI double to right field by Tigers left fielder Glenn Gray was followed by an RBI double to left center by Franks. That chased Evans from the game and brought in Johnson who picked up the third out on the first batter he faced.

Senior Erik Gaustad took over as the designated hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning and produced a one-out single to right center. With two away, Christianson delivered an RBI-double to left center. Bottenfield singled to deep short, and Christianson scored on a throwing error by the shortstop. He was thrown out attempting to take second on the play, however, bringing the inning to a close with the score 7-3.

Occidental scored one run in the top of the sixth to move to within three, 7-4, but the Warriors blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth, taking advantage of two Tigers errors. Christianson led off and reached on an error by the first baseman. He then took second on a single by Bottenfield to center field. Noe, a freshman from St. Joseph High in Santa Maria, reached on an error by the third baseman and the sacks were loaded with Warriors with nobody out.

Junior left fielder Derek Fugitt singled to right to score Christianson and keep the bases loaded. Bottenfield scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Meschuk. Noe and Fugitt moved up a base when Maddox grounded out to short. Martinez then connected for a two-RBI single to right, allowing Noe and Fugitt to score and giving Westmont an 11-4 advantage.

Moore took the mound for the Warriors in the top of the ninth and retired the side.

In the second game, senior left-hander Brandon Downs pitched five innings without allowing a run. The former Ventura College and Ventura High star gave up five hits, struck out four and walked two.

He was followed by Chris Plance, who faced five batters, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on three hits. He had one strikeout in one-third inning of work. Jonathan White pitched three innings, allowing one run on one hit, striking out two and walking two. Max Gutierrez pitched two and two-third innings, allowing only one hit without giving up a run. The former Ventura College and Oxnard High star struck out one and walked two.

Westmont jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Maddox reached on a single to lead off the inning. Martinez hit a grounder to third, but the Tigers’ third baseman’s throw went awry, allowing Maddox to reach second base. Boujikian’s single to left field pushed Maddox across the plate and moved Martinez to third. Martinez then scored on Christianson’s sacrifice fly to left.

The scored remained 2-0 until the top of the sixth inning when the Tigers scored three runs on four hits and an error. Occidental would have scored more but for Martinez, who threw out the Tigers’ Matt Anderson at home as he tried to score on a single by Daniel Kelley. Anderson’s out was the third of the inning and resulted in his ejection from the game for bowling over Noe.

The Tigers added another run in the top of the ninth inning on a walk, stolen base, wild pitch and passed ball, putting Westmont into the bottom of the ninth with a two-run deficit. Starter Ross Pomerantz had pitched well for Occidental, allowing two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits in eight innings.

"We had all sorts of chances in the second game," said Gemberling, "but left 12 runs on the bases. It took us 11 innings to cash in on it. We only left four on the bases in the first game."

Occidental head coach Elliott Strankman brought in Kieran Doherty as a closer to finish up the game, but it didn’t turn out as he had hoped.

Gaustad led off the inning with a single up the middle and then reached second on an error by the Tigers’ shortstop during an at-bat by junior right fielder Taylor Grace. Bottenfield’s ground ball to the pitcher resulted in Gaustad’s retirement at third, but left the Warriors with men at first and second with one away. That’s when the pinch hitting began.

"We try to send up the right pinch hitters at the right time," Gemberling said. "They had a submarine pitcher but he didn’t fool our guys at all. They just racked him. The guys bore down, went up to the plate, and concentrated, giving us some key hits to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth. The guys hung in there and clawed their way back. I’m sure proud of them."

Senior Cody Chapman was called in to pinch hit for Noe and delivered an RBI-single to center field, allowing Grace to score and moving Bottenfield to second base. Junior David Stout was asked to pinch hit for freshman left fielder Terrell Wong. Stout grounded to first and the Tigers tried to end the game on a double play. Chapman was thrown out at second but Stout reached first safely as Bottenfield moved to third. That brought up the top of the order.

Maddox produced his sixth hit of the day to score Bottenfield and tie the game, 4-4. With men at first and second with two outs, Martinez nearly won the game for the Warriors in regulation. He singled to center field, sending Stout past third base and on his way home. But Occidental’s Spencer Woolwine threw out Stout at the plate, sending the game into extra innings.

Gutierrez allowed only one base runner in extra innings — a walk to Jason Jebbia — to keep the Warriors in the game. Noe led off the bottom of the 11th inning with a single through the left side of the infield. Meschuk laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Noe to second base. Maddox came to the plate and was intentionally walked to give Westmont runners at first and second with one away. Martinez was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.

That brought out Strankman from the dugout to make a pitching change, replacing Doherty with John Clair. Martinez stepped to the plate and smacked Clair’s fourth pitch into right field to score with the game-winning run.

Westmont has a full schedule this week. The Warriors play at UCSB at 2 p.m. Tuesday before hosting Biola at 2:30 p.m. Thursday and Concordia in a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.

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