Boone Farrington played spoiler on Friday with his first career walkoff homerun to turn San Diego Christian's 4-3 lead into a 5-4 Biola win, and the Eagles have a chance to play spoiler to the No. 7 Hawks' season tomorrow as they drop into a tie for first place in the conference with today's loss.
The seniors had a chance to play some homerun derby at practice yesterday, and it looks like Boone Farrington thought he was still going for the win in that competition, as he rocketed his third big fly of the season far over the left field wall.
The walkoff would not have come without the gritty pitching performance of Garrett Picha, who pitched a complete game with confidence despite trailing by a run or two throughout the contest.
After a two-run first inning to the Hawks, he settled in and seemed in control throughout as he worked through two bases-loaded jams and picked up 3 strikeouts en route to his sixth victory of the season.
"It is a good Friday win right here. Both pitchers settled in and did a good job. Picha once again kept us in the ballgame," said Head Coach Jay Sullenger. "He settled down and did what he has done for us all year."
Biola faced Mark Vasquez, who had difficulty finding the strike zone all day long, and he eventually surrendered 10 hits and three earned runs to the Eagles throughout his 6.1 innings of work.
The Eagles' bats were picking on the strikes he did throw, as five different batters went for multiple hits on the afternoon. Luke Klocek had the best all-around performance with a 3-for-4 day at the dish and five putouts in right field.
"We had some good offensive efforts throughout the game to scratch some runs across," said Sullenger. "Then, when we got a guy on in the ninth Boone put a good swing on one. Walkoffs are fun moments. You get the goosebumps. No question this one will be a highlight we remember."
It is a highlight that almost was not, as Biola was forging a rally in the seventh inning that knocked Vasquez out of the game and ended up bringing in SDC's lights-out reliever, Steven Bunnell. Bunnell entered his outing today with five saves and a 1.08 ERA and he began his outing by getting an inning-ending double play.
He also had a solid eighth inning against Biola's bats, forcing two fly outs and one ground out sandwiched around a double and walk.
With the Farrington brothers and Rob Groeschell due up in the ninth inning, the task was on Picha to get them there with just a one-run disadvantage. He got into another jam, but ended the inning with a big strikeout, making two strikeouts and a double play the inning-ending putouts for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Clutch.
"When we fell behind the guys were not worried," said Sullenger. "It's been a long year, but there is a good feel on the club right now. Guys are feeling good and playing well. When you have one of your best guys on the mound it always gives you more confidence."
After Picha got the K it was his turn to put faith in his offense. After a fly out opened the inning, Groeschell stepped into one for a hard-lined single, and then Boone Farrington came to the box and the rest was history.
Biola improves to 15-37, while the Hawks drop to 35-16 after this nailbiter. The two teams meet again tomorrow afternoon for a doubleheader beginning a noon. It will be the final day of Biola's season as they are not in postseason contention. Senior day festivities will occur between games.