LA MIRADA, Calif. --- Garrett Picha was in command from the first pitch to the very last in a fantastic complete game victory over Arizona Christian on Friday afternoon.
Picha picked up the Eagles' second complete game of the season, both hurled by his strong left arm. It all seemed to go right for Biola on Friday, as the Eagles managed their highest scoring output since they dropped 10 runs on Bethesda Feb. 5. Biola got eight runs on the board in a speedy 8-3 win over the Firestorm.
"You can't ever tell what is going to happen in baseball," said Head Coach Jay Sullenger. "Baseball is a difficult sport, but if you can simplify it and see some success that confidence can really feed."
The Eagles had lost 16-of-17 entering play today, and have been unable to get many runs across with just one man on their roster hitting above .300. It was a team desperate for some offense, so it was fun to watch it get comfortable and have fun scoring runs today.
Biola got to ACU's starter, Tommy Lay, early, putting up two runs off back-to-back singles from Johnny Farrington and Sam Thorne in the second inning.
The lead was pushed wider with three runs coming the fifth inning. The Eagles were able to get a few base hits with two outs, and a throwing error on a play at third helped them keep the inning alive to get their three tallies.
Andres Rodriguez launched the inning with a big two-out double to left-center. He had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run and RBI as part of a deadly bottom third of the order for Sullenger.
He, Thorne and Farrington combined to go 6-for-12 out of the seven, eight and nine spots. Those three, along with the No. 6 hitter, Andrew Franks, accounted for six of the Eagles' eight runs.
"You make a lineup and there is a lot of things that goes into it mentally, depending on where you are hitting," said Sullenger. "As long as you put good swings on the baseball you can have some results."
Biola's three-run output in the fifth was followed by the only inning that showed a chink in Picha's armor on the afternoon. ACU was able to string together three straight hits and a few walks to produce their three runs in the top of the sixth.
Outside of that inning, Picha allowed just two hits and one walk over the other eight innings pitched. A mark of just how good he was today is that he struck out nine ACU batters; his previous season-high for strikeouts in a game was three.
"Picha's outing was solid from start to finish," said Sullenger. "The number one thing he did all day was that he kept the ball down. When you keep the ball down you are going to be successful. He got some ground balls at key times and many guys did a good job behind him."
He improved to 4-4 with the win and helped Biola climb out of last place in the Golden State Athletic Conference and improve to 10-30 (6-19 GSAC). The Eagles get two more tomorrow with the Firestorm, which now sits at 10-21 (4-19 GSAC).