PHOENIX, Ariz. --- Arizona Christian University's baseball team split the double header Saturday afternoon, as they finished the three game series 2-1 against Bethesda University of California.
Travis Rowe of Arizona Christian took to the mound to start game one of the doubleheader, as he hurled a little over five innings.
After a quiet first three innings, the Flames jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Joshua Perez doubled down the left field line scoring Santiago Arce. Daniel Juarez would push another run across on a sac fly.
ACU's Ryan Jones crushed a pitch over the right field fence in the fourth inning, to bring the Firestorm back within a run.
Later in the sixth inning, Bethesda opened up the lead by plating six runs on six hits making it 11-4. This ended Rowe's day, who finished with 5.1 innings pitched, six earned runs and 3 strikeouts.
Needing a comeback, the Firestorm began chipping away at the lead in the bottom of the seventh by scoring three runs off of two hits. Seth Neely doubled home Tanner Stokey after he worked a walk. Jones would then single back up the middle scoring Neely.
In the eighth, the Firestorm plated a couple more runs on a Neely two-run homerun to right center, making the score 11-9, with the Flames leading.
The Flames would hold the Firestorm off, taking the first game of the double header.
Ryan Jones (3-5 HR 2 RBI) and Seth Neely (2-4 HR 4 RBI) led ACU's attack.
Bethesda had 4 players with multiple hits, as both teams' bats seemed to be heating up.
In game two, Dean Jackson got the nod and was dueling through 4 innings. Having been dealing with a sore hip, this was a quality and encouraging outing (4 innings 2 ER 2 K's).
ACU jumped out to a commanding lead in the first as they had five runners cross the plate, and batted through the order.
Later in the fourth, Cody Rose singled home Phil Creecy and Luke Sanders adding to the score making it 8-2.
Not to go down quietly, the Flames began their comeback scoring one in the fifth and adding 5 more in the sixth to tie the game up 8-8. Daniel Juarez singled home 2 runs, Justin Soto doubled home two runs and Eric Garcia singled Soto home knotting the game up at 8-8.
Needing some runs of their own now, ACU hung a 10 on the board in the bottom of the sixth backed by 5 hits, 3 walks and two errors. Three of those hits being crushed over the fence for no doubter homeruns. Ryan Jones had the first, a two run shot to right field. Cody Rose went back-to-back with a solo shot to left field. A few batters later, Seth Neely cleared the bases with a grand slam to straight away center field.
Tom McGrath would close the game out with the final score in the rubber match being 18-9.
Arizona Christian had three players with three hits apiece (Neely, Jones, P. Creecy) and Cody Rose with two. Neely, Jones, and Rose each finished with a homerun in game two; and five homeruns altogether in the day.
The Firestorm lost its five game win streak, but improved to 10-12 on the season, and it appears the ACU offense is beginning to heat up.
Arizona Christian will face Northwestern College Monday morning at 11am, at Firestorm Field.