RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Sixth-seed Azusa Pacific scored the game's first 14 runs, taking advantage of three errors, and cruised in from there for a stunning 15-7 win over Golden SAC Champion and top-seed California Baptist University in the opening game of the 2011 GSAC Baseball Postseason Tournament Tuesday.
The win puts the Cougars (27-23) into the winner's bracket where they will play Wednesday at Noon. The Lancers (41-13) fall into the loser's bracket and will play at 9 a.m. Wednesday against the loser of second-seed Biola and fifth-seed Point Loma Nazarene.
The NAIA's No. 3-ranked Lancers, who are going to earn an at-large berth to the NAIA National Tournament, must now win five games in three days to repeat at GSAC Tournament Champions.
Needing to win the conference tournament to get into the 45-team national tournament field, Azusa Pacific slowly and methodically pulled away from the Lancers early and then used consecutive five-run innings in the fifth and sixth to open a 14-0 lead and put the Lancers on the brink of a mercy-rule defeat.
GSAC Pitcher of the Year Taylor Siemens (9-2) started and worked on a strict pitch count. He finished four innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (two earned), striking out All-GSAC Brent Warren three times. Drew Madrigal made his first appearance in nearly two months and worked one inning, giving up five runs (one earned).
Seven of the Cougars' 15 runs were unearned.
Morgan Wynne (4-3) worked seven strong innings and didn't allow a run and just three hits in the first five innings as the Cougars pulled away. The Lancers finally got to him in the sixth, but it was too little to late.
Jake Johnson was 4-for-4 with three RBI and put the Lancers on the board with an RBI double in the sixth. He also had a two-out, two-RBI single in the seventh to get the Lancers within 14-5.
Jonathan Erb, Josh Leite and Warren all had three hits apiece for the Cougars. In fact, after striking out in his first three at-bats against Siemens, Warren had three hits and four RBI in his final three plate appearances after Siemens left. Leite scored three times.
Anthony Rodriguez had two hits and three RBI, two of them coming on a two-out RBI single through the right side in the second after what turned out to be a big two-out error by the Lancers, who committed three errors in the game. That gave the Cougars an early 2-0 lead.