March 16th, 2012
AZUSA, Calif -- After striking out 12 times in Thursday’s game with only six hits the obvious adjustment for the Mustangs was to put the ball in play. On Friday they did that, wrapping out 13 hits, scoring 10 runs, and striking out only five times. Unfortunately, Azusa Pacific followed up yesterday’s 15 hit performance with a 16 hit onslaught that pushed 13 runners across home plate.
The Cougars went deep four times, twice in the first inning as rightfielder Brent Warren and GSAC homerun leader Jordan Leyland went back to back in the frame. The Cougars also homered once in the second inning, a Brendan Casey three run shot, and again in the sixth, a two run big fly for sophomore catcher Matt Page.
The Cougar offense scored in each of the first six innings: two in the first, three in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, and three in the sixth. Six Cougars had multiple hits including the aforementioned Warren who was three for six with three RBI’s. Casey also turned in quite an afternoon with four RBI’s of his own.
While the Cougars put up big offensive numbers for most of the afternoon, the Mustangs quietly stayed within striking distance. Ryan Shackelford drove in a run in the second inning with a single, a pair of doubles by Bryan Lucas (2 for 5, 2 RBI’s Friday) and Spencer Downs cut the Cougar lead to 6-3 in the fourth, and RBI singles by Cody Harris and Lucas brought in two more runs in the fifth getting the Mustangs back to within three at 8-5.
Trailing 10-5 in the sixth, Steven Karkenny brought home a run with a sac-fly, and with the score 13-6 in the eighth he drove in another with a solid single over the leaping Cougar second baseman. Two batters later with the bases loaded and two outs, Chris Talley (3 for 5, 3 RBI’s Friday) laced a double off the wall in left centerfield clearing the bases and cutting the Cougar lead to 13-10. The Mustangs were finally able to keep APU off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings behind the arms of Jeremiah Graff and Karkenny. TMC could not complete the comeback however as APU closer Alan Garcia (clocked at 90 mph Friday) shut the door for his ninth save of the season. Final score APU 13 TMC 10.
Freshman right-hander Zachary Hedges improved to 4-0 picking up the win, while James Scott took the loss for TMC dropping to 4-2 on the season.
After dropping back to back games for the first time in almost a month, first baseman Spencer Downs doesn’t think the Mustangs need to change anything for tomorrow’s twinbill, “I thought we played (well) today…I don’t think we need to change anything, just keep playing the way we play and playing hard.”
With the loss the Mustangs fell to 20-8 overall and 9-5 in conference play, while the Cougars improved to 20-5 overall and 9-1 in GSAC play. Tomorrow the series shifts to Santa Clarita for a doubleheader; first pitch is set for 12 pm.