SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Golden State Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week Eddie Rivera (SR/Anaheim, CA) (7-3) one-hit The Master's College in Vanguard's early game on Wednesday to pick up a 2-0 win for the Lions, but The Pride struggled in its must-win contest against British Columbia later in the day and were eliminated from the 2014 NAIA National Baseball Championship Opening Round with a 10-4 loss.
In the opener, the Lions were paced offensively by freshman sensation Brandon Sandoval (FR/Fallbrook, CA). Sandoval tallied two of Vanguard's five total hits and an RBI. Thomas Mobley (SR/Anaheim, CA), Greg Younger (SR/Bakersfield, CA) and John Collins (SR/Fallbrook, CA) recorded the Blue and Gold's remaining knocks, while Taylor McKnight (JR/Mission Viejo, CA) brought in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the second.
British Columbia led the entire way in the nightcap, garnering an early 5-0 lead off of Vanguard starter Scott Torrey (JR/Simi Valley, CA). Torrey had an excellent junior campaign, finishing the year at 7-5 overall, but was credited with the loss after 2.1 innings on the mound. He walked one British Columbia batter and gave up eight hits on the day.
The Thunderbirds posted 21 hits in the contest, compared to the Lions' 14.
Nick Rodda (SR/Santa Rosa, CA) and Bret Collins (JR/Manhattan Beach, CA) went 3-for-4 and 3-for-5 at the plate, respectively, in the affair, while John Schwer (SR/Burbank, CA) and Younger posted two knocks apiece for The Pride.
Vanguard's runs came in the fifth and sixth frames. In the fifth, Rodda, Sandoval and B. Collins managed consecutive singles before Mobley reached base on a fielder's choice to score Rodda from third. Next up was Schwer who brought in Sandoval with a single to shallow center.
The sixth inning saw Vanguard bring in its final two runs of the season. With an out on the board, Younger bunted for a single, which was followed by a walk from Rodda to put two on base. An out later, B. Collins came to the plate, singling up the middle to bring Younger home. Again Mobley took first on a fielder's choice, though no runners were put out due to an error on British Columbia's second baseman, Matt Spillman. Rodda advanced to third, and with the bags loaded, Schwer drew a walk to post Vanguard's last run.
Justin Davis (JR/Los Angeles, CA) and Rodd both stole bases for the Lions on the day.
Vanguard finishes the year at 33-23 overall.