Westmont Baseball (37-6) took the first of three non-conference games against the Urban Knights of Academy of Art (11-29) in what proved to be a slug fest. The two teams combined for 32 hits, including 11 for extra bases. In the end, Westmont prevailed 12-7.
The Knights, an NCAA Division II team and a member of the PacWest Conference, opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-RBI double by Travis Turney. Turney later scored when he stole third and trotted home on an overthrow from the Warriors’ catcher. The Knight’s tallied four hits in the opening frame.
The Warriors took one run back in the bottom half of the inning on a RBI-single by Josh Rego to right-center field that drove in Simon Reid. Reid had reached with a two-out double that bounced high off the center-field fence, just under the yellow home run line.
An awkward situation arose in the top of the second. The Knights had batted out of order in the bottom of the first, sending Charles Morgan to the plate as the eighth batter instead of Emil Jellinek. The two were reversed on the line-ups exchanged at the plate prior to the game.
The first inning had ended when Morgan flew out on the first pitch he saw, before the Warriors had an opportunity to identify the error. Then, Jellinek came up to lead off the second, also out of order. After the first pitch, Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz alerted the umpires. The umpires ruled, however, that they should have been notified at the time the first person batted out of order.
After a lengthy discussion, the umpires sent Jellinek back to the dugout, since he was batting out of order. However, they did not charge the Knights with an out. In Jellinek’s place, Adam Inouye, the Knight’s lead-off batter, finished the at bat, inheriting Jellinek’s 0-1 count.
The Urban Knight’s would go on in the inning to load the bases with one away. However, Westmont starter Eric Oseguera retired the side on a pop fly to short and a strikeout, escaping the inning without further damage done.
Westmont took the lead in the bottom of the second when the Warriors posted four runs on the scoreboard. After Justin Rodriguez delivered a lead-off single to right, Paul Mezurashi and Ryan Desaegher produced well executed back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases with no outs.
Robbie Haw took advantage of the RBI opportunity and drove in all three runs with a double down the left field line. When Brady Renck grounded out to second, Haw moved to third. Then, Reid hit a deep sacrifice fly down the right field line to bring home Haw, putting the Warriors up 5-3.
Parker O’Neil got things started for the Warriors in the bottom of the third with a one-out single to left. When Rodriguez singled to center, O’Neil made it to third. Rodriguez took second on the throw to third. Mezurashi stepped to the plate and delivered a two-RBI double on a line drive to right-center field.
Westmont’s lone run in the fourth inning came after Thomas Rudinsky sent a two-out double into left field. Rudinsky scored on a single by Rego to left, making the score 8-3.
Westmont stretched their advantage to 9-3 in the bottom of the sixth. After leading off with a single up the middle, Haw took second on a wild pitch. When Renck singled to center, Haw took third base. With Rudinsky at the plate, Haw got a good jump on a ball chopped to third base by Rudinsky and scored on the play.
In the top of the seventh, the Knights’ Ty Conrad pounded a lead-off home run beyond the left field fence to make it a 9-4 ball game. The following inning, the Academy of Art scored three more runs on four hits and a Warrior error, making it a 9-7 game.
An RBI-single by Dominic Ruggiero accounted for the first run in the top of the eighth. The second run was scored on a wild pitch and the third on a RBI-double by Conrad. Gabe Arteage was called out of the pen to prevent any further damage and he retired the next two batters on a strikeout and a ground out to third.
In the bottom half of the eight, Westmont matched the Knight’s production with three runs of their own. With two away, Renck doubled down the right field line, then advanced to third on a passed ball. Reid followed his roommate with a double nearly in the same place, driving in Renck. Next, Rudinsky sent a towering blast down the left field line. There was no question that the ball was deep enough, the only question was whether or not it would stay fair. With two outs, Reid dashed to third then watched down the line as Rudinsky’s shot stayed inside the foul pole. The two-run home run restored Westmont’s five-run lead and accounted for the final score.
Oseguera, who did not figure in the decision, pitched four innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits. He struck out one and walked two. Alex Blaszyk came on in relief and was awarded his first win of the season. Blaszyk allowed four runs on six hit while striking out two. He did not surrender a walk.
The same two teams will meet again Saturday for a doubleheader in what will be the final home games of the 2022 regular season. The Warriors’ seniors will be honored in a ceremony before the game that will begin at 10:30 a.m. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.