PHOENIX, Ariz. – Senior lefthander Mike Lachapelle (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro H.S./Univ. of New Mexico/Pima C.C.) struck out a season-high 12 and pitched a complete-game shutout in game one, and junior leftfielder Orrin Sears (Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado H.S./Linn Benton C.C., Ore./Lamar C.C., Colo.) went 3-for-4 with a three-run home run and a triple and four RBI in game two as Arizona Christian University (23-17, 16-17 GSAC) swept a Golden State Athletics Conference baseball doubleheader, 7-0 and 13-3, from The Master's College (32-14, 22-11 GSAC), the number six ranked team in the NAIA National Coaches' poll, on Senior Recognition Day, Saturday, April 13 at Firestorm Field on the ACU campus in Phoenix.
Lachapelle evened his record at 5-5 in game one and struck out 12, hit one batter and walked none in a nine-inning complete game shutout, just the fourth nine-inning complete game and the third shutout in ACU's three-season baseball history. Lachapelle threw 119 pitches and allowed eight hits, including two doubles. TMC left nine runners on base against the ACU lefty and had at least one base runner in each of the first seven innings, and Lachapelle retired the last six Mustangs he faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
ACU totaled 11 hits in the game and scored five runs on five hits, a walk, a sacrifice fly ball and a wild pitch in the fifth inning and added two runs on three hits in the eighth. TMC starter James Scott, now 5-4 this season, allowed five runs, all earned, seven hits and two walks and struck out four Firestorm batters in the first 4-1/3 innings. Reliever Andrew Klausmeier allowed two runs on four hits and struck out two in the final 3-2/3 innings.
TMC shortstop Jonathan Popadics went 2-for-3, including a double, third baseman Cody Harris was 2-for-4 with a double, and centerfielder Caleb Halverson also went 2-for-4 in game one.
Sears began ACU's fifth-inning rally with a double, and junior third baseman Trevor Santor (Phoenix, Ariz./Ironwood H.S./Grand Canyon Univ.) followed with a single through the right side of the TMC infield, sending Sears to third. Freshman second baseman Jake Wakamatsu (Keller, Tex./Keller H.S.) singled home Sears with the first run of the inning, and with one out, senior rightfielder Nathan Enriquez (Las Cruces, N.M./Mayfield H.S./Univ. of New Mexico) delivered an RBI single and also stole second base. After a walk put runners on first and second, junior designated hitter Seth Neely (Phoenix, Ariz./Tolleson Union H.S./Scottsdale C.C.) slammed an RBI single for a 3-0 lead. Junior first baseman Phil Creecy (Monterey, Calif./Palma H.S./San Diego City College), ACU's RBI leader with 28, lifted his third sacrifice fly ball of the weekend series for a 4-0 lead, and Neely scored the fifth run of the inning on a wild pitch by Klausmeier, who relieved Scott after Neely's RBI hit.
After singles by Creecy, his second hit of the game, and senior catcher Joel Thys (Auburn, Calif./Placer H.S./Sonoma State Univ./Ohlone College) and a ground ball by Sears, Santor drove in both of ACU's runs in the eighth inning against Klausmeier with his eighth double of the season, a one-out shot down the leftfield line.
ACU recorded its third consecutive game with 11 or more hits, totaling 13 runs on 12 hits in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against TMC. The Firestorm tallied seven runs in the second inning on four hits, two hit batsmen, three walks, an error, and a wild pitch, two runs on three hits in the third inning and four runs on four hits in the fifth inning.
TMC starter Tyler Elrod, whose record fell to 7-3, was charged with six runs, all earned, on two hits and two walks in the second inning. ACU tacked on three runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks against righthander Tommy Kister in 2-2/3 innings and roughed up Bryce Clancy for four runs on four hits in the fifth. Harris pitched a scoreless sixth inning and struck out two.
ACU's senior righthander Stephen Thompson (Memphis, Tenn./Christian Brothers H.S./Arkansas Tech University) improved his record to 6-5, allowing two runs, three hits and two walks and striking out three Mustangs in six innings of work. Senior righthander Cody Honea (Redding, Calif./Enterprise H.S./Northeast Oklahoma State Univ.) gave up one run in the seventh inning on a walk, an error, a wild pitch and an RBI ground ball by Popadics.
ACU's crucial blows in seven-run second inning included Sears' triple to leftfield, an RBI single by senior designated hitter Jake Storrer (Phoenix, Ariz./Scottsdale Christian Academy), Neely's RBI single to rightfield, an RBI single by Sears, his second hit of the inning, and a pair of bases loaded walks to Enriquez and Creecy. Another run scampered home on a wild pitch, and another on an RBI ground ball by senior leftfielder Chris Russell (Anthem, Ariz./Boulder Creek H.S./Northwest Oklahoma Univ.). Storrer went 2-for-4 with one run scored and an RBI in game two.
Senior pinch-hitter Tyler Osborne (Gilroy, Calif./Gilroy H.S./Gavilan College) drove in a fifth-inning run with a sharp single to centerfield, and Sears smashed his fourth home run of the season and third hit of game two in the fifth inning, giving ACU a 13-1 lead.
Neely, who totaled three hits and three RBI in the doubleheader, increased his consecutive-game hitting streak to eight games and has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games. Neely, who leads ACU with a .390 average and four home runs and 24 RBI, has 32 hits in 64 at-bats (.500) with seven doubles, three home runs, 10 runs scored and 16 RBI in the last 18 games. Santor, batting .302 this season with 17 RBI, increased his hitting streak to four games with two hits in game one, but went hitless in game two. Santor has seven hits in his last 18 at-bats (.389) with two doubles and four RBI.
Enriquez also possesses a four-game hitting streak with two hits and one RBI in both ends of Saturday's doubleheader with nine hits in his last 16 at-bats (.563) with a double, six runs scored and six RBI. Enriquez went 8-for-13 with six RBI during the three-game weekend sweep of The Master's College.
Sears, who was 7-for-12 with four RBI in the three games over the weekend, has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games with 24 hits in 57 at-bats (.421), seven doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI during his hot streak. Sears is batting .325 with eight doubles, three triples, four home runs and 26 RBI this season.
After Saturday's action, fourth-place Arizona Christian moved to 1.5 games behind third-place San Diego Christian (29-15, 15-15 GSAC) in the conference standings and increased its lead over fifth-place Biola University (25-20, 13-17 GSAC) to 1.5 games. The Master's is 1.5 games ahead of the second-place team, number 13 ranked Concordia University (30-14, 19-11 GSAC).