RIVERSIDE --- Ryan Cathers and Antonio Chavarria both had three hits and three RBIs to help California Baptist University overcome a rather sloppy effort in a 12-7 Pacific West Conference win over Azusa Pacific in the first of a four-game series Thursday afternoon.
The win is the Lancers’ fifth straight as they improve to 22-9 overall, 15-2 PacWest.
The Cougars fall to 9-22, 7-14.
Cathers, Chavarria and Mark Sanchez, the Lancers’ 7-8-9 hitters, combined for eight of the Lancers’ 15 hits.
With the game tied 4-4 in the fifth, the Lancers took control with a six-run inning, all of the runs coming with two outs. Andy Crowley started the foray with an RBI double off the right field wall. Cathers drove him in with a single, and Chavarria followed with a two-run shot to right to it 8-4.
After Sanchez was hit by a pitch, Luke Esquerra extended his hitting streak to 16 straight games with a blast off the scoreboard in left center, giving the Lancers a 10-4 lead.
Richie Brown hit a three-run homer off reliever Johnathan Davis in the seventh to get the Cougars within 10-7, but the Lancers scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh.
Josh Ferrell tossed 2.1 perfect innings of relief, striking out three, for the save. Davis (1-1) got the win in relief despite giving up Brown’s homer. Caleb Dirks went 4.1 innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs while striking out five.
The Cougars had just six hits, but took advantage of three Lancer errors. The Lancers had three errors in the last five games combined.
The Cougars scored in the first, getting a walk, a double and a hit batter before a fielder’s choice drove in the game’s first run. They doubled the lead when Luke Esquerra dropped Brendan Casey’s fly ball to left. Casey ended up on second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Cathers hit a two-run double in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2, and Chavarria promptly broke the tie with an RBI single. Esquerra hit a sac fly to make it 4-2.
Matt Marnati was 3 for 5. Esquerra had three RBIs. Crowley also had two hits.