EL CAJON, Calif.—While not a team to sit back and wait on a homerun, the San Diego Christian College Hawks reaped the benefits of the long ball on Friday in a double header sweep of La Sierra University.
The Hawks rolled in game one to a 10-6 win and rallied after falling behind 11-3 to take game two 12-11.
"The wins today were huge, especially the second game," said San Diego Christian senior outfielder Garrison McLagan. "Having fallen behind by eight runs and to come back and win, really shows the fight this club has."
"We found out the heart that this team has."
With the sweep, San Diego Christian is 4-0 for the first time since 2007. La Sierra is now 0-2.
In game one, La Sierra grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, benefiting from an San Diego Christian error.
The Hawks tied the game an inning later, when Taylor Eichorst doubled, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Jeff Lusardi.
San Diego Christian took advantage of La Sierra miscues in the third, when Alex Mann reached on an error and Chad Erickson walked after an 18-pitch at bat. Garrison McLagan then gave San Diego Christian a 4-1 lead with a three-run home run over the right field wall.
San Diego Christian added five more runs in the fourth on a two-run double by Mann and another three-run home run by McLagan.
"I had a hitting coach who used to always tell me that the hardest at bat is the one after a homerun," said McLagan. "I was thinking about that when I was coming up in that situation. I stayed relaxed and the Lord blessed me with another one."
La Sierra would chase San Diego Christian starter Gabriel Hemmer from the game in the fifth. The Golden Eagles pushed across five runs on four hits while taking advantage of two walks. The Hawks' Jeremy Blare came in and closed out the inning, and the Hawks still clung to a 9-6 lead.
San Diego Christian would add another run in the eighth to take game one, 10-6.
David Johnson (1-0) got the win in relief of Hemmer and Blare, throwing 2.0 innings, striking out 4 and only allowing two hits. Brock Heerdt notched the save with 2.0 innings of scoreless work.
In game one, McLagan ended 2-4 with 3 runs scored and 6 RBIs. Cade Gotta and Christian Johnson added a pair of hits each.
Game two saw La Sierra jump on the Hawks with five runs in the top of the 1st inning on three hits, while taking advantage of two San Diego Christian errors and two walks.
San Diego Christian responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame, with the Taylor Eichhorst delivering the big hit, in the form of a double to left center.
La Sierra added another run in the top of the second and scored five more in the top of the third to grab an 11-3 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
Then, San Diego Christian slowly started to chip away at the lead.
San Diego Christian got a pair of runs in the third and one run on a solo homerun from Chad Erickson in the fourth to make it an 11-6 game moving into the fifth inning.
In the San Diego Christian portion of the fifth, Lusardi was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.. After an out, Dawson Jones drew a walk, and Billy Fuston singled to load the bases. Rich Aguirre then doubled off the left field wall to bring home two runs. San Diego Christian was unable to plate any more runs, but had cut the lead to 11-8 moving into the sixth.
Eichhorst led the inning off with a walk. Lusardi followed with a single. Christopher Johnson then laid down a sacrifice bunt which was fielded by the pitcher. Instead of taking the sure out at first, La Sierra pitcher Michael Hinjos tried to gun down Eichhorst at third. The ball kicked off Eichhorst as he slid into third and went into the San Diego Christian dugout. Eichhorst was awarded home and Lusardi ended up on third and Johnson on second.
After a strikeout, Lusardi came home on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 11-10. After another strikeout, Aguirre deposited a fastball over the left field wall to give San Diego Christian the lead at 12-11.
"In that situation, I was just taking until I got a strike," said Aguirre of his homerun. "I was waiting until I got a good fastball in my zone. I trusted my hands and it worked out.
The Hawks called on Joey Aquino who, after a little drama, retired La Sierra and San Diego Christian claimed the win.
Aguirre was 2-4 with 2 runs and 4 RBIs in game two. Erickson also had a pair of hits, including a solo homerun and Lusardi added two hits and two runs scored.
Nick Greene (1-0) got the win in relief. Greene threw 3.2 innings, striking out five and allowing only two hits. Aquino picked up the save, tossing a scoreless ninth.
"Today was a great team effort and it is great to get a pair of wins," said Aguirre. "We really pulled together as a team and fought hard through the end. We battled and refused to give up."
The Hawks have a week off before hosting Westmont College in the GSAC opener on January 25.
"This comeback is awesome and knowing that we have that capability really boosts our confidence," added McLagan. "We need to have a good week of practice and focus on Westmont. We will be facing a great team and we just need to use these wins today and build off of them."