LA MIRADA, Calif. – The race for the GSAC regular season title came to the last game of the season. After both The Master's College and San Diego Christian won the morning game of the double header, both teams were vying to be the No. 1 team come GSAC Tournament play.
The Hawks ended with an emphatic 16-0 victory over Biola in Game 2 and The Mustangs were defeated by the Warriors of Westmont 8-4 to give SDC their first regular season championship in school history. They ended with a 37-16 overall record and 24-12 in conference play.
"I am elated for our players and coaches," SDC Head Coach Chris Bando said. "They have all worked so hard to place themselves in this position to win. It's even more exciting to win it on the last day of the season."
SDC will host the GSAC Tournament at Grossmont College and will be the No. 1 seed. The Master's College falls into the No. 2 seed, followed by No. 3 Vanguard and No. 4 seed Westmont. Concordia is the fifth team in the standings and misses out on the conference tournament based on a tiebreaker with Vanguard and Westmont.
In Game 1, the Hawks defeated the Eagles 8-3 behind Gabriel Hemmer and the bats of Taylor Eichhorst and Chad Erickson.
Hemmer tossed 7.1 innings allowing three runs and six strikeouts to improve to 11-3 on the season. David Johnson came in relief for 1.2 innings of hitless ball.
Eichhorst smashed his sixth homer of the season in the second inning as the Hawks scored two in the inning on four hits. Erickson hit his seventh longball of the season in the third scoring Cade Gotta for a 4-0 lead.
SDC scored a run in the fifth and erupted for three in the sixth to end their scoring. The Eagles tallied their first run in the sixth and scored two more in the eighth off of Hemmer.
Erickson had a team-high 3 RBI in the first game followed by two from Eichhorst. The Hawks totaled 11 hits on the game compared to Biola's 10.
"I am extremely proud of our senior leadership on this team. The have a passion to compete and they rose to the challenge with their backs against the wall coming off the toughest loss of the year," coach Bando said. "They are over-comers and they overcame a lot to win. We have no home field, we practice on a softball field and played more games on the road than any team in the GSAC. Indeed we are all proud of their accomplishments and their ability to stay focused."
In Game 2, Eichhorst's bat come to play again as he smashed two more homers for No. 7 and 8 on the season. He finished the day going 3-for-7 with the three home runs, 5 RBI and three runs.
Gotta and Peter Hoyt also tallied a homer in the game. The 16 runs scored by the Hawks were the second most in a game this season.
Eichhorst delivered his first of two homers in the second inning. The Hawks scored a run in the fourth and six in the fifth. Eichhorst led off the fifth with a solo shot. SDC ended their scoring with four in the sixth and two in the seventh.
Seven different batters recorded at least 2 RBI in the game. Lusardi led the Hawks with four hits.
Joey Aquino threw six innings allowing just five hits, no runs, and three strikeouts to earn his fifth win of the season. Jake Sween pitched an inning of relief, striking out a batter.
The GSAC Tournament will start on May 1, with the Hawks taking on Westmont at noon. The Master's will take on Vanguard at 9 a.m. Thursday.