EL CAJON, Calif.—For the first time in the program's seven-year history, the San Diego Christian College baseball team has clinched a spot in the Golden State Athletic Conference postseason tournament. With a doubleheader split against No. 13 Concordia University-Irvine on Saturday, the Hawks have secured their spot in the four-team competition on May 2-4.
SDCC held off a CUI rally to take game one 5-4, while the Eagles responded to win game two 5-1. SDCC won the first game of the series on Friday. CUI and SDCC split the season series.
SDCC moves to 31-16 overall and 17-16 in the GSAC. The Eagles also sit at 31-16 overall and 20-13 in the conference. CUI has secured the second seed in the GSAC tournament, only two games back from The Master's College with three games left in the season.
In game one, SDCC did its damage early. After an initial out, Jeff Lusardi singled and Chad Erickson and Taylor Eichhorst drew walks. Cade Gotta then hammered a 2-1 fastball over the right field wall for a grand slam to push SDCC ahead 4-0.
The Hawks added another run in the bottom of the third when Taylor Eichhorst scored on an error and the Hawks went up 5-0.
The Eagles came back with a three-run fifth, highlighted by a two-run homerun from Spencer Ofelt. CUI cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth, with back-to-back doubles from Justin Hodges and Matt Palmer.
Neither team would score again, but the Eagles would threaten in the top of the eighth. With one out, CUI would load the bases, and SDCC turned to Gabriel Hemmer out of the bullpen for the second straight day. Hemmer recorded a strikeout and induced a groundout to end the threat.
Hemmer then pitched a perfect ninth to collect his second save of the season.
Tyler Sanborn (6-2) earned the win of the Hawks. The righty tossed 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits. Jeremy Blare bridged the gap between Sanborn and Hemmer, throwing 2.0 innings and allowing 3 hits while keeping CUI off the board.
Chris Garrison (4-4) suffered the loss. Garrison pitched the complete game, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits while striking out seven.
The Eagles jumped on top early in game two, scoring three runs in the top of the second inning. SDCC cut into the lead with Eichhorst scoring on a groundout from Gilbert Viera in the bottom of the second to make it a 3-1 game.
CUI would add single runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, and Eagles' Starter Adam Quintana stymied the Hawks' bats the rest of the game. Quintana (7-3), the conference leader in ERA, limited SDCC to only two hits the entire game, and did not allow a hit after the second inning.
Nick Greene (6-3) took the loss for the Hawks, throwing 4.0 innings and allowing three runs on six hits while striking out two.
The Hawks will play a non-conference game on the road against crosstown foe Point Loma Nazarene on Tuesday, April 23 before concluding their season next weekend, hosting Biola University with a single game on Friday and a double header on Saturday. In addition, SDCC will honor its seniors for their contributions to the program on Saturday .