SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- The San Diego Christian College Hawks rebounded from an opening round loss in the morning of the GSAC tournament, getting a stellar performance from Gabriel Hemmer as the Hawks staved off elimination to continue on in the tournament. SDCC dropped the opening game to Concordia University 5-4 but defeated Arizona Christian in 10 innings 1-0 thanks to a complete game performance from Hemmer.
Hemmer (7-4) tossed 10 innings of shutout ball, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out 11 in the game two victory.
In game one, Concordia (34-17) took the early advantage, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning. After an initial out, CU got singles from Spencer Ofelt and Ryan Dimascio. SDCC (37-17) appeared to have an opportunity to get out of the jam, but with Dillon Bryant at the plate, the Eagles executed a hit and run with both runners breaking on the pitch. Bryant hit a groundball to SDCC shortstop Christian Johnson who flipped the ball to second baseman Gilbert Viera who fired it to first. Unfortunately for the Hawks, since the baserunners took off on the pitch, Dimascio beat the throw at second base while SDCC was able to get the out at first.
Justin Hodges then singled to bring home Ofelt and Dimascio scored on a wild pitch. Matt Palmer then sent a shot into left center to bring home Hodges. Palmer tried to stretch the hit into a double, but SDCC's Chad Erickson threw Palmer out at second base. The damage had been done and CU grabbed an early 3-0 lead.
The Hawks were able to put the pressure on Brooks again in the fifth. After an initial out, Peter Hoyt was hit by a pitch and Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Brooks fielded the ball and made a wild throw to first, allowing Johnson to reach base and Hoyt moved to third. Brooks again pitched out of trouble, striking the next hitter out and getting a flyout to centerfield to end the inning.
The Hawks pitching staff kept SDCC within striking distance. Starter Nick Greene threw well, but ran into trouble in the fifth. After Palmer singled, Ty Holm reached on an error and Kuber singled to load the bases with no outs. Greene then got a force out at home on a groundout to first base. The Hawks then turned to lefty Jesse Hernandez who induced an inning ending double play to end the threat.
The Hawks produced multiple base runners in the seventh and eighth innings, but Brooks was able to consistently pitch out of trouble. Meanwhile, the Eagles posted single runs in the seventh and eighth to take a 5-0 lead.
The Hawks continued to fight and knocked Brooks out of the game in the ninth. Viera led the inning off getting hit by a pitch. Alex Mann then singled and Hoyt drew a walk. CU then turned to Blake Harrison to take over for Brooks. Harrison was able to get a strikeout for the first out.
Erickson then hit into a fielder's choice, scoring a run but eliminating the runner at second base. The Hawks were able to bring to the plate the tying run in the form of Cade Gotta after Garrison McLagan drew a walk to load the bases. Gotta drove a 2-1 pitch down the leftfield line, clearing the bases with a double to make it a 5-4 game. But Harrison would not let the Hawks get anymore, inducing a groundout to end the game and give the Eagles the victory.
In game two, pitching dominated the game as both offenses couldn't get anything going. A total of three pitchers were used in the game, one by the Hawks and two by the Firestorm. ACU's Mike Lachapelle went 8.2 innings striking out 12 and gave up six hits. Jordan Bryson (4-4) was credited for the loss going .2 innings, giving up a hit and an earned run.
Neither team was able to threaten much against the opposing pitcher. Both Lachapelle and Hemmer seemed unhittable for much of the game.
The Hawks nearly ended the game in the ninth. After two quick outs, Lusardi and Gotta had consecutive singles, forcing Lachapelle from the game. Bryson entered and got a ground out to first to end the threat.
After Hemmer worked around a leadoff single in the top of the tenth, Hoyt was hit by a pitch to lead off the SDCC half of the frame. Hoyt then advanced to second after a successful sacrifice bunt by Christian Johnson. After a single by Mann sent Hoyt to third, McLagan was intentionally walked to load the bases for Erickson. Erickson then hit a ball to the right of shortstop Daniel Pereira. With the infield drawn in on the grass, Pereira ranged to his right but was unable to field the ball cleanly, and Hoyt scored the winning run.
Arizona Christian was limited to four hits, while SDCC had seven. McLagan and Gotta each collected two hits in the win.
The Hawks will play the loser of Concordia and The Master's College on Friday at 2:00pm in another elimination game.