SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Gabriel Hemmer pitched his second consecutive complete game as the Hawks pounded out 10 hits en route to a 6-1 win in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round against No. 2-seed Cal State San Marcos.
With the win, San Diego Christian is now 38-18 while San Marcos falls to 35-11.
Just one week removed from a 10-inning complete game, Hemmer allowed just one run on four hits while striking out eight against a San Marcos team that came in ranked eleventh in last week's top 25 poll. Alex Mann, Chad Erickson, and Taylor Eichhorst all had two hits.
After a scoreless frame, the Hawks got on the board first in the bottom of the second. Eichhorst started the inning with a single to left. A Jeff Lusardi sacrifice bunt and an Erickson fly out to center pushed Eichhorst to third. Gilbert Viera then reached on an error scoring Eichhorst from third. After Viera stole second base, Peter Hoyt singled down the right field line to score Viera and give San Diego Christian a 2-0 lead.
The Hawks continued their offense in the third. Two doubles by Eichhorst and Erickson created the third run in the game.
Hemmer's only blemish of the game came in the sixth inning. Kenny Belzer singled through the left side and scored Tyler Bernard who reached on a walk.
San Diego Christian would respond in the bottom of the inning. Lusardi started the inning with a double to deep left field. Erickson followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Erickson would then steal second base, but the next two Hawk batters were retired. Richard Aguirre came off the bench to pinch hit for Christian Johnson and delivered a two RBI single to increase San Diego Christian's lead to 5-1.
The Hawks would add a run in the eighth via a squeeze play by Johnson as he dropped down the bunt and plated Chris Gonzalez to end the scoring.
Hemmer (8-3) retired the last nine batters he faced. Cal State San Marcos starter James Dykstra (9-4), who entered the game with a 1.94 ERA, lasted 5.2 innings allowing eight hits and five runs, three earned, striking out seven and walking one.
The Hawks will play The Master's College at noon on Friday, while the Cougars will play Concordia University (Ore.). The Master's beat Tabor College (Kan.) 1-0 in the final game of the day. The winner between the Hawks and the Mustangs is guaranteed a chance to play in the final round of the tournament on Saturday.
San Diego Christian look to avenge a loss to The Master's in the championship game of the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament last weekend.