ST. GEORGE, Utah --- Since California Baptist University Head Coach Gary Adcock took over the Lancer program in 2004, one thing has been constant through the years—30 win seasons.
For the eighth time under his watch and fourth straight year, CBU notched 30 wins reaching the mark Friday in a doubleheader split at Dixie State. The Red Storm won the opener 12-4, handing CBU ace Jon Bengard his first loss of the season, but the Lancers came back with an 8-5 win in the nightcap.
The split moves the Lancers to 30-15 overall, 23-8 PacWest. And although the Lancers dropped the opener, Azusa Pacific defeated Grand Canyon 6-5 tonight, keeping the Lancers within one game in the loss column of the ’Lopes in the race for the PacWest title with five games left.
The four-game series concludes tomorrow. First pitch scheduled for 10 a.m. (PDT).
Dixie State is now 28-15, 20-13.
CBU scored the first seven runs of the nightcap and then held off a late Red Storm charge to earn the split. The Lancers led 8-4 before the Red Storm scored a run in the bottom of the seventh and then brought the tying run up to the plate. However, reminiscent of last year’s PacWest Championship-clinching victory in St. George, Matt Daugherty induced a game-ending double play out of Kris Kaplan to preserve the victory.
Luke Esquerra had four hits and two RBIs. His RBI single in the Lancers’ three-run fourth gave the Lancers a 4-0 lead. Matt Marnati immediately followed with a two-RBI double that made it 6-0 and in the process moved him into second place on the Lancers’ career list with 273 knocks, just one shy of tying Steve Ferreira’s (2001-04) program record of 274.
The Lancers strung together three straight hits in the second off Kort Christoffersen. Ryan Cathers hit a one-out single, followed by consecutive doubles by Andy Crowley and Mark Sanchez to take an early 2-0 lead. Antonio Chavarria delivered a sacrifice fly in the third to give the Lancers a 3-0 lead.
Christoffersen (5-1) was handed his first loss of the year, lasting just three innings, giving up four runs (three earned). Meanwhile, Adam Hofacket was solid, allowing just on earned run and striking out four in 4.1 innings to move to 3-4.
Daugherty got his fourth save to tie Brandon Daily (2004-08) and Kevin Johnson (2002-05) atop the Lancers’ career list with 12 saves.
In the opener, Bengard’s troubles at Bruce Hurst Field continued as the reigning PacWest Pitcher of the Year gave up a season-high seven earned runs, less than a year after walking nine in his last start in St. George. He lasted just 4.1 innings in taking his first loss of the year. It is just the second time all season he gave up more than two earned runs and first since March 14 vs. Fresno Pacific.
The Lancers fell behind 6-0, the big blow coming on a three-run homer by Cedric Johnson in the third inning. However, the Lancers got a two-run double by Luke Esquerra in the fourth and two-run homer from Daugherty in the fifth to get within 6-4.
CBU had a chance to keep it within striking out distance heading into its final two at-bats when the Red Storm had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Reliever Kavan Pardo got a routine double-play ball to second, but Chavarria bobbled it and was unable to make an out. Four batters later, the Red Storm finished off a six-run frame, getting a bases loaded walk and two singles and a 12-4 lead.
The Lancers committed four errors, leading to four unearned runs.
Moore finished 3 for 3.
The Dixie State 2-3-4-5 hitters combined to go 9 for 15 with seven runs and six RBIs.