In an effort to play Thursday’s scheduled baseball game against Fresno Pacific, Westmont invited the Sunbirds to move the contest to Montecito because of rainy conditions in the Central Valley. But rains here prevented the game’s completion.

The two teams played five innings in the rain and waited out a 17-minute rain delay before the game was finally suspended, with Fresno Pacific leading, 4-3. The game will be completed April 2 in Fresno before the start of the next scheduled game between the two squads. The April 3 game will also be played at Fresno Pacific instead of at Westmont as originally scheduled.

Under cloudy skies and with a light rain falling, Fresno Pacific’s Jacob Burns and Westmont’s Erik Gaustad took the mound for their respective teams. Eight days earlier, Burns had held the Warriors to just four hits in eight innings on the way to a 7-0 Sunbirds win. Gaustad was coming off an outstanding performance against No. 13 California Baptist on Saturday in which he held the Lancers scoreless through seven and a third innings in Westmont’s 3-2 victory.

In the top of the first, Joe Halderman, the Sunbirds’ lead-off hitter, reached first base on a single into right field.  After stealing second, Halderman tried to score on a single to center by Aaron Lynn but was thrown out at the plate by Westmont centerfielder Taylor Maddox. Lynn advanced to second on Maddox’s throw and later scored on a single to center by Josh Jackson.

Westmont put up two runs in the bottom of the first inning to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead. Second baseman Anthony Martinez produced a one-out single to right field to start the rally. Designated hitter Cody Chapman then stepped to the plate and earned a walk that advanced Martinez to second.  That brought up shortstop Robert De Leon, who crushed a shot to left-center field for a two-RBI triple.

Westmont added another run in the bottom of the second inning to go up 3-1.  After third baseman Jordan Bottenfield was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Maddox laid down a bunt single on the third base line.  Left fielder Derek Fuggit reached on a fielder’s choice that retired Maddox, giving Westmont men at first and third with one out.  Right fielder Taylor Grace stepped to the plate and ground back to the pitcher, but the Sunbirds were unable to turn the double play and Bottenfield scored from third.

A lead-off walk to Thomas Raymundo in the top of the third inning was followed by a double down the left field line by Fresno Pacific’s Justin Keeney that moved Raymundo over to third. Jackson smashed a ground ball to the left side that nearly struck umpire Mel Gatson.  The ball was fielded by De Leon who threw out Jackson at first while Raymundo scored.

Fresno Pacific added two more in the top of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead.  Joey Norwood received a leadoff walk.  After Mitch Mulligan popped out to the pitcher on a bunt attempt, Halderman grounded out to the pitcher and Norwood took second with one away.  Lynn stepped to the plate and produced an RBI double to right center field to tie the game at 3.  Raymundo then reached on a Westmont error that allowed Lynn to score.

Westmont will return to action Saturday at Point Loma Nazarene, with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.

Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.