LA MIRADA, Calif. --- Garrett Picha continues to be lights out against all opponents in 2014, shining bright in a very tight Biola victory on Friday afternoon.
The Eagles' ace went eight strong innings against Westmont in the first game of Biola's second Golden State Athletic Conference series of the season. He gave up just six hits over his stint, and allowed just two runs to the Warriors, only one of which was earned. He improves to 2-1 on the season with a 0.90 earned run average.
"Garrett (Picha) did a great job changing speeds and working around a lot of hitters," said Head Coach Jay Sullenger. "He worked out of a big jam in the eighth and really won the game for us."
Biola did most of its damage in the first inning after their stud transfer leadoff hitter, Rob Groeschell, got the ball rolling with his 10th hit of the season.
He then stole second base as Michael Annunziata was working a base on balls. A long Boone Farrington flyout advanced both runners into scoring position as Sam Thorne stepped into the box.
Thorne grounded out, but scored Groeschell and advanced Annunziata to third in the process. David McNeill picked up an infield single to score Annunziata and put the Eagles up by two quickly.
After a wild pitch from Westmont's starter, Torin Shaikh, advanced McNeill to second, Luke Klocek slapped a single to left that helped the Eagles get a third run in the inning. Three would be all the needed on the afternoon after they took advantage of a shaky start by Shaikh.
"Putting up a three-spot in the first inning was big," said Sullenger. "If you can get on a guy before he has a chance to settle in it makes a big difference."
Sullenger's point was proven as Shaikh did quickly settle in. He went through six innings, giving up just two more hits after the first.
Unfortunately for Westmont, Picha was dialed in straight from the start. He gave up a fluke run in the first, after Brandon Gildea scored off his own triple, coming home after a throwing error by Andres Rodriguez.
Rodriguez scored the Eagles' fourth run in the bottom of the second inning, after a error by Westmont's Joey Gonzalez.
Westmont tacked on a run in the fourth, but never really threatened again until the eighth inning. A leadoff double, a walk and a hit by pitch helped Westmont load the bases on Picha, but he got out of it with two flyouts.
He was especially effective in utilizing fly balls all day long, getting 14 of his 24 outs via fly ball.
Bryan Castelli came to the mound in the ninth and set the Warriors down in order to get his first save of the season. He has been just as dominant as Picha this season, allowing zero earned runs in six innings across three appearances.
Biola concludes their home series with Westmont with a doubleheader tomorrow morning. The action begins with first pitch at 11 a.m.