PHOENIX, Ariz. – Junior rightfielder Seth Neely (Phoenix, Ariz./Tolleson Union H.S./Scottsdale Comm. College) capped a five-run, four-hit rally in the 12th inning with a walk-off, two-run home run over the right-field fence that lifted Arizona Christian University (7-9, 7-9 GSAC) to a 9-7 Golden State Athletic Conference baseball victory over Westmont College (12-9, 5-7 GSAC), Friday, March 1, at Firestorm Field on the ACU campus in Phoenix. The game was the longest in Arizona Christian's three-season baseball history and snapped its four-game losing streak.
Westmont had scored three runs on four hits and an ACU error in the top of the 12th inning and led 7-4, but in the home half of the 12th inning, senior second baseman Trevor Santor (Phoenix, Ariz./Ironwood H.S./Grand Canyon Univ.) reached on an error at first base and advanced to second base on a single by senior first baseman Tyler Osborne (Gilroy, Calif./Gilroy H.S./Gavilan College). Senior shortstop Danny Pereira (Oakley, Calif./Freedom H.S.) lined a two-run double to the left-centerfield fence scoring both runners, cutting Westmont's lead to 7-6, and advanced to third base on an errant throw from the cut-off man.
Pereira scored the game-tying run (7-7) on a ground-ball out hit by senior centerfielder Nathan Enriquez (Las Cruces, N.M./Mayfield H.S./Univ. of New Mexico). Senior leftfielder Chris Russell (Anthem, Ariz./Boulder Creek H.S./N.W. Oklahoma Univ.) beat out an infield single to first base and scored ahead of Neely's first home run of the season on an 0-0 count with one out. Neely is batting .310 (13-42) with six RBI this season.
Westmont's third pitcher of the game, righthander Michael Rishwain, took the loss (1-1), and ACU's third pitcher, senior righthander Jordan Bryson (Elk Grove, Calif./Capital Christian H.S.), earned the victory (2-0). Rishwain allowed five runs, four earned, and four hits and struck out two Firestorm batters in the last 1-1/3 innings of the game, and Bryson allowed three runs, two earned, four hits and a walk, and struck out two Warriors in the last two innings.
ACU totaled 13 hits in the game, three each by Pereira and junior third baseman Phil Creecy (Salinas, Calif./Palma H.S./San Diego City College), the GSAC's leading hitter with a .465 average, and two singles by Russell. The Firestorm had eight hits in the first four innings, including four hits in a two-run rally in the second inning, but managed just one hit from the fifth inning through the 11th inning.
Westmont starter J.P. Cohn struck out six batters in the first seven innings and allowed three runs, all earned, and eight hits and left the game leading 4-3. ACU scored once against Cohn in the first inning on Creecy's RBI double and two runs in the second inning on four hits, including Russell's RBI single and a sacrifice fly ball by Enriquez, his first of two RBI for the game.
Reliever Hunter Christenson allowed one walk and a tying run to ACU in the eighth inning on Creecy's RBI infield single, Creecy's team-best 12th RBI of the season. Christenson pitched three innings before giving way to Rishwain at the start of the 11th inning.
Westmont tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the second inning with an unearned run against ACU starter Alika Pruett (Pearl City, Hawaii/Kamehameha H.S./Ohlone College) and went ahead 4-3 with three runs on four hits and a walk in the third inning against Pruett. Pruett was charged with four runs, three earned, five hits and three walks and struck eight Warriors in six innings of work but left trailing 4-3.
Senior lefthander Jake Dziubczynski (Chandler, Ariz./Mountain Point H.S./TAMU-Corpus Christi/Central Arizona College) allowed just three hits and a walk and struck out two in his four innings of work and left the game in the 11th inning with a Westmont third baseman David Gabel on second base after a double. Bryson entered the game, and after walking his first batter, slammed the door on the Warriors on a fly ball to right, a strikeout and a fly ball to left.
Westmont put together four hits and a wild pitch against Bryson in the 12th inning and took a 7-4 lead. Catcher Brandon Gildea singled home a run, and Gabel delivered an RBI triple, his third hit of the game, and scored Westmont's last run on an ACU two-out error and led 7-4 before ACU's heroics by Pereira and Neely in the bottom half of the inning.
Three other Westmont players had two hits each – rightfielder Chris Stroh, centerfielder J.J. Turbin and first baseman Thomas Hocutt, who drove in two runs.
Coached by Don Mitchell, Arizona Christian hosts a GSAC doubleheader against Westmont, Saturday, March 2, beginning at 11 a.m., at Firestorm Field on the ACU campus in Phoenix. Saturday's doubleheader includes a nine-inning first game and a seven-inning nightcap.