SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Westmont second baseman Brent Fukushima belted two solo home runs and added a two-RBI triple in today's Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader against Vanguard (9-2, 4-2 GSAC) at Russ Carr Field. The Warriors (5-6, 3-6), won the front end of the twin bill 6-2 but couldn't complete the three-game series sweep. Vanguard took the final game of the doubleheader by a score of 5-3.
Starter Russell Harmening picked-up his third win of the season in the early game allowing two runs on four hits in six innings so work. The right-handed sophomore struck out three and walked four. Tyler Karp, Hunter Christianson and Michael Rishwain each worked one inning on the mound, allowing just one hit in the combined effort. Richard Perry took the loss for the Lions after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits.
The first run of the game came on Fukushima's solo home run to left field in the third inning. In the bottom of the fourth, the Warriors added two more. Left fielder Steven Pollex led off with a single to right and then reached second on a sacrifice by David Gabel. When center fielder Will Barring came to the plate and singled to left field, the Warriors found themselves with runners on the corners and one away.
Designated hitter Alex Bush took advantage of the scoring opportunity by driving in Pollex with a double to deep right center that advanced Barring to third. Third baseman Graylin Derke drove in Barring with a sacrifice fly to center field.
In the top of the fifth inning, Vanguard pulled within one. First baseman Michael Flores walked and catcher Josh Collins was hit by a pitch to start off the inning. Greg Younger advanced Flores and Justin Davis, who served as a courtesy runner for Collins, with a sacrifice bunt, giving Vanguard runners on second and third with one out. That brought up shortstop Nick Rodda whose double to left center allowed both Flores and Davis to score, making the score 3-2.
Vanguard nearly evened the game at three in the sixth inning, but the arm of right fielder Chris Stroh preserved the Warriors' lead. With the Lions' right fielder John Schwer on third base, Collins drove a ball to right field that forced Stroh to retreat backward three or four steps toward the outfield fence. Schwer tagged up and broke for home after Stroh's catch, but Stroh threw a strike to Warrior catcher Brandon Gildea who caught the ball and tagged out Schwer to complete the double play and end the inning.
The Warriors gained a bit more breathing room in the bottom half of the sixth. With two away, Barring reached on an errant throw that found the visitors' dugout and advanced Barring to second. Bush then singled to right center, driving in Barring.
Westmont added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Gable led off with an infield single and reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Barring. One out later, Derke produced a single that moved Gabel to third. Fukushima then stepped to the plate and blistered a line drive triple down the right field line that reached the corner and drove in both Gable and Derke.
The second game saw Vanguard's first four batters connect for hits and the Lions jump out to a 4-0 lead. Westmont was unable to generate enough offense to overcome the early deficit. Bush, who pitched just the first inning, was charged with the loss after allowing four runs, three of which were earned, on four hits. Vanguard starter Scott Torrey was credited with the win after pitching four innings in which he allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits. Clayton Voechting pitched three innings and allowed just three hits to earn a save.
The Warriors picked up a single run in the second inning, scoring on an error. In the fourth, Fukushima connected for his second home run of the day. Derke then reached on an error and advanced to second with one away. After the Warriors picked up a second out on a fly ball to centerfield, Stroh single through the left side to drive in Derke.
When shortstop Joey Gonzales doubled, Stroh rounded third and headed for home. After a collision at the plate, Stroh was not only called out, but ejected from the game for running over the catcher. Had Stroh scored, the game would have been tied at four runs apiece. However the threat ended one run short of knotting up the game and the Warriors were unable to generate runs the rest of the way.
Next week, the Warriors will host a non-conference game with Corban (Ore.) on Thursday at two and then head to Irvine for a three-game series with Concordia on Friday and Saturday.