SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Arizona Christian University (24-17, 17-17 GSAC) totaled 11 hits, including three doubles and a two-run home run, and senior righthander Tanner Tripp (Chandler, Ariz./Corona del Sol H.S./Univ. of Utah/South Mountain C.C.) struck out seven and allowed seven singles and one walk and pitched seven shutout innings as the Firestorm defeated Westmont College (22-23, 12-19 GSAC), 9-1, in Golden State Athletics Conference baseball action, Friday, April 19 at Russ Carr Field on the Westmont campus in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Westmont totaled 10 singles against three Arizona Christian pitchers. Tripp, now 3-1 this season, walked one and struck out seven and allowed seven hits in seven full innings of work. Westmont scored an unearned run on two hits and one Arizona Christian error in the eighth inning against senior lefthander Jake Dziubczynsnki (Chandler, Ariz./Mountain Pointe H.S./TAMU-Corpus Christi/Central Arizona C.C.), who struck out one, and senior righthander Sam Moore (Tempe, Ariz./Valley Christian H.S./Grand Canyon Univ.) allowed one hit in the ninth inning.
Westmont third baseman David Gabel went 2-for-4, and centerfielder William Barring went 2-for-4, with the Warriors' only RBI in the eighth inning. Westmont left nine runners on base, including the bases loaded in the second inning and two runners in the third and seventh innings as Tripp worked out of trouble and got help from Arizona Christian double plays in the fourth and eighth innings that prevented further difficulty.
Arizona Christian totaled 11 hits and received three walks and one hit batsmen from five Westmont pitchers. The Firestorm scored two runs in the first inning when junior first baseman Phil Creecy (Monterey, Calif./Palma H.S./San Diego City College), Arizona Christian's home run and RBI leader with six long balls and 30 RBI this season, crashed a two-run home run over the left-centerfield fence, nearly 400 feet from home plate. Creecy has delivered at least one RBI in four consecutive games and is batting .352 for the season. His home run ended a 14-game long-ball drought.
The Firestorm added one run in the fourth inning on an RBI single to leftfield by junior third baseman Trevor Santor (Phoenix, Ariz./Ironwood H.S./Grand Canyon Univ.) and two runs on an two-RBI single by junior leftfielder Orrin Sears (Albuquerque, N.M./Eldorado H.S./Linn Benton C.C., Ore./Lamar C.C., Colo.) with two outs in the fifth inning, as Arizona Christian took a 5-0 lead.
Righthander Torin Shaikh, now 4-5 this season, allowed the first five Arizona Christian runs, three earned, six hits and one walk and struck out three Firestorm batters in five innings of work. Lefthander Hunter Christenson gave up four runs, three earned, three hits and a walk in 2-1/3 innings, and righthander Alex Bush allowed one hit, one walk and a hit batsman in the eighth inning, and righthander Michael Kwan struck out the only batter he faced to end the eighth inning. Righthander Devin Matson allowed one hit and struck out one in the ninth inning.
Arizona Christian broke open the game with four runs on four hits and one Westmont error in the eighth inning and led 9-0. Freshman second baseman Jake Wakamatsu (Keller, Tex./Keller H.S.) lined a two-RBI double down the leftfield line and later scored on an error, and senior designated hitter Tyler Osborne (Gilroy, Calif./Gilroy H.S./Gavilan College) delivered an RBI double for Arizona Christian's final run in the inning.
Santor, a .307 hitter this season with 18 RBI, went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI, and has hit safely in five of his last six games with nine hits in his last 23 at-bats (.391), three doubles, five RBI and three runs scored. Sears went 2-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base and extended his consecutive-game hitting streak to four games. Sears, who also has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games, has 26 hits in his last 62 at-bats in 18 games (.419) with seven doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI during his hot streak. Sears is batting .328 with eight doubles, three triples, four home runs and 28 RBI this season.
Junior designated hitter Seth Neely (Phoenix, Ariz./Tolleson Union H.S./Scottsdale C.C.), who hit a single and walked once in five plate appearances, increased his consecutive-game hitting streak to nine games and has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games. Neely, who leads Arizona Christian with a .385 average and four home runs and 24 RBI, has 33 hits in his last 68 at-bats (.485) in 19 games with seven doubles, three home runs, 11 runs scored and 16 RBI.
Senior centerfielder Nathan Enriquez (Las Cruces, N.M./Mayfield H.S./Univ. of New Mexico) singled sharply to rightfield in the fifth inning and was hit by a pitch and now possesses a five-game hitting streak with 10 hits in his last 20 at-bats (.500) with a double, seven runs scored and six RBI.
After Friday's action, fourth-place Arizona Christian remained 1.5 games behind third-place San Diego Christian (30-15, 16-15 GSAC), which defeated second-place and number 13-ranked Concordia (30-15, 19-12 GSAC), 7-6, in the conference standings and increased its lead over fifth-place Biola University (25-21, 13-18 GSAC) to 2.5 games and increased its lead over sixth-place Westmont to 3.5 games. First-place The Master's College (33-14, 22-11 GSAC), the No..9-ranked team in the NAIA, is two full games ahead of Concordia, and is playing a three-game series at No. 11 Cal State San Marcos, April 19-20. The Master's defeated Cal State San Marcos, 11-8, in Friday's single game. Vanguard (19-25, 12-19 GSAC), which defeated Biola on Friday, 5-4, is tied with Westmont for sixth place.