EL CAJON, Calif. – Looking to grab their first GSAC Tournament title in school history, the Hawks just had to win one game against Westmont.
After the Hawks lost Game 1 17-11 to force a winner-take-all match against the Warriors, Westmont registered 22 hits to take Game 2, 13-5, and the sweep to win the conference tourney Saturday.
The Warriors scored 47 runs in the last three games of the tournament.
In Game 1, the Hawks saw themselves down 1-0 early after Westmont scored a run in the bottom of the first against SDC starter Joey Aquino.
Westmont responded with two runs in the third to retake the lead 3-2.
Gotta tied the game with a solo homerun in the fifth inning for his team-leading eleventh of the season.
SDC scored three runs in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead before the Warriors responded again as they didn't go away. Westmont erupted with four runs in the sixth and seventh, including five in the eighth to secure the win. Aquino was forced out after 5.2 innings, allowing six hits, six runs, five earned, two walks while striking out one. He left with a no decision as Steven Bunnell relived Aquino. Bunnell had his worst outing of the season only getting two outs as he allowed six runs and a walk to record the loss. His ERA still sits at a respectable 2.79.
Trailing 17-6, SDC didn't give up as they scored five runs in the top of ninth but the rally ended short to force the Game 2.
In Game 2, Westmont's Daniel Butler bested SDC starter David Johnson.
The freshman Butler improved to 2-0 with the win throwing 6.1 innings and allowed five runs, four earned, and three walks with four strikeouts.
David Johnson was roughed up for 14 hits and eight runs, only two earned as he was chased in the sixth.
The Hawks led in the early going of the game. Peter Hoyt singled home Gotta in the first and Christian Johnson singled home Stowers in the second to lead 2-0 after two. Gotta also scored in the fourth from a wild pitch as SDC grabbed its last lead in the game at 3-2.
But Westmont powered through with three runs in the fifth and sixth as well as four runs in the ninth.
With the win, the Warriors get an automatic birth into the NAIA Opening Round. The Hawks will have to wait for the at-large bid. Seeding and field locations will be announced Friday May 9.