SAN MARCOS, Calif.—The San Diego Christian College baseball team set a school record for wins in a season on Wednesday afternoon, jumping on top early and holding off a late rally as the Hawks defeated No. 3 Cal State San Marcos 6-5. The win came on the heels of a weekend series that saw San Diego Christian fall two times in extra innings to fifth-ranked The Master's College.
The victory moves the Hawks to 22-13 overall. The previous record for wins in a season came in 2007, when San Diego Christian went 21-23. In addition, the win is the third this season for San Diego Christian over a ranked opponent. Cal State San Marcos had a seven game winning streak snapped and falls to 22-3 overall.
"Today was a huge stepping stone for this program," said San Diego Christian Associate Head Coach Ralph Grajeda. "Not only did we break the school record for wins in a season, we showed a lot of grit and determination after a tough series with The Master's."
"The fact that the win came against the third-ranked team in the NAIA was special."
The Hawks wasted no time taking the lead, as leadoff hitter Alex Mann singled and was later brought home on a Garrison McLagan double to give San Diego Christian a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Cougars tied the game with a run in the bottom of the first when Kyle Secciani connected on a leadoff triple and later scored on a groundout.
San Diego Christian responded with three runs in the top of the second. Christian Johnson started the scoring, singling home Gilbert Viera. Mann then singled, and a double from Jeff Lusardi plated Johnson and Mann to push the lead to 4-1.
San Diego Christian went up 5-1 in the top of the fourth when Cade Gotta doubled and was moved to third on a sacrifice off the bat of Johnson. Mann then delivered a single through the left side to bring home Gotta.
Cal State San Marcos was stifled early by San Diego Christian starter Jeff Gogue. After the initial triple by Secciani in the bottom of the first, Gogue retired 13 of 14 hitters in a stretch from the first to the fifth innings.
The Cougars started to chip away with one run on three hits in the fifth inning. Cal State San Marcos was able to chase Gogue from the game in the bottom of the sixth, giving way to reliever David Johnson, as the Cougars scored a pair of runs to cut the lead to 5-4.
The Hawks were able to get some valuable insurance in the eighth, when Peter Hoyt led the inning off with a single and later scored on an error to give the Hawks a 6-4 lead.
The bottom of the ninth was not without drama. Marcus Meraz doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a single by Manny Cardeiro. San Diego Christian turned to Brock Heerdt. Heerdt got an out on a sacrifice bunt and forced consecutive groundouts to end the game with the tying run 90 feet away.
Gogue (1-0) earned his first win of the season in his first start of the year. The freshman southpaw tossed 5.1 innings, allowing four runs while scattering six hits and striking out three. David Johnson, Jeremy Blare, and Brock Heerdt combined to throw 3.2 innings, allowing four hits and only one run. Heerdt earned his third save of the season.
Mann led San Diego Christian, going 3-5 with a pair of runs scored, while Hoyt was 3-4.
San Diego Christian continues its success in tight games, moving to 6-1 in one-run games this season.
After the game, Grajeda praised his team.
"What doesn't show in the box score is their approach and effort. The players expect to win here and that is a credit to them for changing the culture of the program."
"I am excited for them."
The Hawks will battle Cal State San Marcos in a double header on Friday. First pitch of game one is scheduled for noon.