PHOENIX, Ariz --- Arizona Christian's University's baseball team split the double header with Master's College Saturday losing the series 2-1.
Ismael Castro took to the hill for the first game and was dealing through seven innings but ran into some trouble in the eighth.
After three consecutive singles, his day was done (7 innings, 4 ER) and the Mustangs began to mount their comeback. Backed by a Steve Karkenny two RBI double, the Mustangs hung a 5 on the scoreboard in the eighth and looked posed for a comeback win.
Entering the bottom of the ninth, ACU trailed 7-5 and in stepped Kenny Zuvela to lead off. He laced a single back up the middle and was quickly pinch run for by Luke Sanders. After two quick outs, Seth Neely singled back through the right side. After a wild pitch, both Sanders and Neely advanced leaving a bag open for Phil Creecy. Creecy worked out a clutch walk putting the winning run on first base.
With two outs and the bases juiced, Ryan Jones stepped up to the plate with a chance to knock in the winning run. Klausmeier, the Mustangs pitcher tried to squeak a first pitch fastball by Jones on the first pitch, but Jones parked it 380 feet away, just foul. Then drawing a full count, Jones recognized a hanging changeup and smashed it over the right field fence for a walk-off grand slam.
"When I came up, I just wanted to get a base hit and tie up the game because I knew a hit would score two," Jones said after the game. "I was sitting off speed and found a pitch I liked and was just able to hit it out."
Before Jones' heroic last AB, he was 0-2 with two walks.
ACU's attack was spearheaded by Jones (1-3 HR 4 RBI's), Jake Wakamatsu (2-3 2 RBI's), and Geoff MacDonald who had 2 RBI's.
The Mustangs again were led by Steve Karkenny who went 3-5 with 3 RBI's and a walk.
In the second game, both ACU pitcher Sam Landes and The Master's Tucker Richardson were dueling until the fourth when Tyler Krahn singled Ryan Shackelford home (who doubled), putting Masters on the board 1-0.
Two innings later in the sixth, The Master's College put two more on the board when Collin Nyenhuis doubled Sam Robison home, and Ethan Stine scoring on an errant throw.
Richardson finished with 6.2 innings pitched and 5 strikeouts. The Master's College was led by Tyler Krahn (2-4 RBI), Ryan Shackelford (2-3) and Sam Robison (2-4).
Sam Landes hurled four innings, giving up one run and striking out 3.
Next for the Firestorm, they travel to Santa Barbara, Calif. to play a three game series against Westmont College on February 28 and March 1.