Siemens, who was spotted an 11-2 lead in the fourth, picked up his program record-tying 26th career victory, but it didn't come without anxious moments as Point Loma Nazarene put on a furious comeback attempt, scoring seven unanswered runs in the final five innings but coming up just short in an 11-9 Lancer victory.
"I've lived in Riverside long enough to know that on a day like today when it's 90 degrees and the wind is blowing out, it's going to be an offensive game," said CBU Head Coach Gary Adcock.
And was it ever.
Fourteen of the game's 26 hits were for extra bases, including 10 doubles and four Sea Lion home runs, all of which were solo shots. The Lancers were outhit, 14-12, but still won the game.
"We needed to keep scoring after we jumped out in front, but I'm proud of the way we were able to hold on and this game even though we got outhit," said Adcock.
Kevin Odom had two doubles and four RBI, including a bases clearing double in the Lancers' seven-run fourth inning against Sea Lion starter Garrett Levsen (4-6), who allowed 10 runs (eight earned) in 3.1 frames. Sharif Othman and Cole Bullard hit back-to-back doubles off reliever Josh Dexheimer to cap the outburst. Bullard's second RBI double of the game gave the Lancers their nine-run lead.
That was all the Lancers (39-11, 24-9) got against Dexheimer, though, as the lefty shut the Lancers down the rest of the way, allowing just one more hit and retiring 12 of the final 14 batters.
While Dexheimer was keeping the Lancers stuck on 11, the Sea Lions (26-18, 18-15) began to chip away, first using the long ball and then finding the gaps. Rashad Taylor and Clinton Harwick hit back-to-back solo shots to lead off the fifth against Siemens, and then Tyler Kuehl hit a two-out RBI double to get PLNU within 11-5.
Taylor also hit a solo shot in the second.
Siemens (9-1) put up a zero in the sixth, but the Sea Lions hit three straight two-out RBI doubles by Scott Stidham, Shain Stoner and Edgar Molina to make it 11-8, chasing the lefty, who ended up allowing five earned runs and 10 hits in 6.2 innings of work. Siemens, who ranks 10th in the NAIA in strikeouts, had just one today.
Patrick Smith, who is making a strong case for postseason honors out of the bullpen, gave up four straight hits that led to a run in the eighth. The Sea Lions had runners at first and second with no outs and down 11-9 when Othman, a GSAC Gold Glove catcher, picked courtesy runner J.J. Reading off at second with a perfectly executed back pick for the mometum-swinging first out.
"That pick was huge," said Adcock. "We harp on it to look for that opportunity. We've been picked like that ourselves. When you have a catcher astute enough like Sharif to make that play it can change an inning."
"Anytime the momentum shifts that late in the game, it is huge, and the momentum shifted back our way on that play," said Smith.
After the pickoff, Smith gave up a single to Allen Boyer to put the tying run on base again, but Smith got Kuehl to line into a double play to Brian Sharp at short, ending the threat and take the wind out of the Sea Lions' sails.
Smith worked a perfect 1-2-3, 12-pitch ninth against PLNU's 3-4-5 hitters to close out his seventh save, leaving Taylor on deck.
"After that eventful eighth inning, he made the ninth inning uninteresting," said Adcock.
"I just wanted to come back out, work quickly, get ahead of the hitters and keep the ball down," said Smith, referring to the quick ninth. "We needed to win this one, so to be able to hold on is big for us."
Indeed the win is big as the Lancers maintain their one-game GSAC lead over Biola with three to play, reducing their magic number to two. Also, a win tomorrow would give the Lancers, who are looking for their first-ever back-to-back GSAC titles, their first-ever consecutive 40-win seasons.
Eight of the nine Lancer starters had at least one hit.
Bullard finished with three hits and two RBI. Ryan Douglass also had two hits and is now hitting .417 with a team-best 16 runs and 12 RBI in the past 14 games.