RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- The NAIA's No. 9-ranked California Baptist University erased a six-run deficit with 13 runs in its final three at-bats in the opener, and then got a three-run bomb from Kevin Odom and a complete-game effort from Devyn Rivera in the nightcap to key its way to a doubleheader sweep of San Diego Christian Saturday afternoon at Totman Stadium.
The Lancers won the opener 15-9 and then completed the sweep with a 5-1 win in the nightcap.
With the sweep, the Lancers, who have won four straight and six of eight, improve to 30-9 overall, 17-7 GSAC. It is their second straight 30-win campaign. The Hawks fall to 5-21, 3-16.
In the opener, the Lancers trailed 5-0 before they even hit and then trailed 8-2 and were getting one-hit heading into the sixth. That's when the game turned.
Jon Bengard, who had pitched just four innings in three previous appearances all season, entered from the pen in the top of the sixth and promptly recorded the Lancers' first 1-2-3 inning. They instantly responded at the plate.
"I was holding pitching auditions looking for anyone who could get outs, and Jon stepped up and responded and got outs when we needed them," said CBU Head Coach Gary Adcock. "We were just waiting for someone on the mound who could get them out, and then we responded right when that happened."
The Lancers caught a huge break in the bottom of the sixth when with one out, SDCC starter Adair Robles, who had one-hit the Lancers through the first 5.1 innings, had to leave with an apparent hand injury. They instantly strung together four straight hits to get within 8-4 and then after Jeremy Blare got pinch-hitter Matt Daugherty to pop out, Brian Sharp delivered a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to make it 8-6.
"That two-out, two-strike hit by Sharp was huge for us," said Adcock. "We were fortunate to get that break when Robles had to leave. He was dominating us. So, yeah, there was a little luck involved, but we got a break when we needed it and jumped on it."
Bengard went out and worked another quick inning, and again the Lancers put up another four runs in the seventh, keyed by a two-out, two-RBI double by Sharif Othman that tied the game. Matt Marnati and Eric Zaragoza hit back-to-back singles to give the Lancers a 10-8 lead they wouldn't lose.
Bengard (1-0) picked up his first career win, working two scoreless innings. Patrick Smith worked the final two innings, allowing a ninth-inning unearned run for his sixth save. The teams combined to issue 15 total walks; Bengard and Smith were the only Lancer hurlers that didn't issue one.
Zaragoza was 2-for-4 with four RBI, including a two-RBI double in the eighth. Marnati had three hits and three RBI, all of them RBI singles and all of them coming in the final three innings during the Lancers' rally. Kevin Odom had two hits as did Othman, who now needs just three more to become just the fourth player ever in program history with 200.
In the nightcap, Rivera provided the Lancers with a much-needed complete-game performance on the mound. He scattered just six hits, five of them singles. He carried a shutout into the seventh and struck out six.
Odom got things rolling offensivelyl in the third. Douglass and Marnati each had one-out singles before Odom smacked his sixth homer of the season to deep left. It was his second homer of the week.
Jake Johnson hit a two-RBI single through the left side to give the Lancers a 5-0 lead in the fourth.
Odom also singled in the first and finished the day with four hits, four runs and three RBI in the two games.
The Lancers finished with eight hits and for the first time in 11 games, they didn't commit an error.
"Hopefully we can get the snowball rolling and pick up steam as we head into a very difficult part of our schedule," said Adcock. "The key today was just to win. You have to win at home."