The Westmont baseball team played its first non-conference game in more than a month and walked away with its 29th win of the season against just four losses.
The Warriors outscored the visiting Mariners of Marymount California (9-12) by a score of 16-7. With the win in Montecito, Westmont is now 12-1 in non-conference games.
As Westmont Head Coach Robert Ruiz had hoped, the Warriors used 28 players in the game.
“I thought we played with a good level of intensity today,” said Ruiz. “It is the first Tuesday game of the season, even though it is our 33rd game. We haven’t yet faced the challenge of having energy on a midweek non-conference game when you are also preparing for a conference opponent on the weekend.
“I felt like this was going to be a good test for us to see if we could be mentally focused and locked-in, and I thought we did a good job of that. We talked about trying to win as many innings as we could and keep the pressure on. We tried to play nine one-inning games and we won every inning but two — tying one and losing one.
“For the most part, they did a great job, and that is why we were able to use so many players. We came out with a good level of intensity and took advantage of some miscues early. We made some adjustments at the plate and our pitchers continued to throw strikes, which really helps us out. I was happy with the way we took the field today.”
The Warriors scored their first run in the bottom of the first on an RBI-double to left center by Brady Renck. The ball bounced to the wall, allowing Robbie Haw to score from first. Haw had worked a four-pitch walk to lead-off the inning.
Ulysses Duran tied the game at one each for the Mariners in the top of the second with a solo home run to right-center field.
In the bottom of the second, Westmont added two more runs on a two-out RBI-double by Haw who turned on a 2-2 pitch and drove the ball down the left field line. Haw drove in Parker Zarbaugh, who had reached on an error, and Ryan Desaegher, who had preceded Haw with his own double down the left-field line.
After a scoreless third inning for both teams — the only scoreless inning for the Warriors — Westmont added five runs in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 8-1. After Zarbaugh led off the inning by being hit by a pitch, Jack Fletcher doubled to right center, driving in Zarbaugh from first.
Zarbaugh, who scored four times in the game, reached base via two walks and was twice hit by a pitch. Fletcher went two for four on the day with a home run, a double and two RBIs. He also scored twice.
“Parker Zarbaugh had a fantastic game,” said Ruiz. “Jack Fletcher just got healthy. He responded well to a tough first at-bat and had a really good day at the plate.”
With Zarbaugh on second and no outs yet recorded, Desaegher hit the ball nearly to the same place as Zarbaugh. Because the Mariners center fielder was shaded more to right, Desaegher was held to a single as Zarbaugh scored.
With Haw up to bat, Desaegher stole second. Then Haw drove a 2-2 pitch to the opposite field for a two-RBI double. When Renck singled through the 3-4 hole, Haw advanced to third. Renck then stole second before Simon Reid walk, loading the bases with no outs.
Thomas Rudinsky drove in Haw with a sacrifice fly to deep left field. Josh Rego stepped to the plate and bounced a double off the center field fence, driving in Renck for the fifth run of the inning.
The Mariners collected their second run of the game in the top of the fifth when Maxwell Kirton homered to right center with two outs and the bases empty.
Fletcher wasted no time getting the run back for the Warriors, driving a lead-off home run down the left-field line. Desaegher was then hit by a pitch and stole second before Haw also trotted to first when he was plunked at the plate.
Desaegher advanced to third when Renck was retired on a line drive to right. That brought up Kahi Rodriguez. On a 1-1 pitch, Haw stole second. The throw to second was high, forcing the shortstop to leap into the air to prevent the ball from going into center field. The high throw, however, allowed Desaegher to dash home for the Warriors’ 10th run of the game.
Westmont tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the six to go up 12-2. After three walks to start the inning to Jonah Paez, Zarbaugh and Fletcher, the next two Warriors were retired without advancing the runners. Then, Trey Dunn blooped a two-RBI double down the right-field line to score both Paez and Zarbaugh.
The Mariners made their offensive move in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs to make it a 12-7 ball game. After Fernando Martinez scored on a wild pitch, Duran delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Kirton. Later in the inning, Jordan Frey tripled with two men on to score the third and fourth runs of the inning. Frey then scored on a wild pitch.
Westmont responded with three runs in the bottom half of the seventh, extending the lead to 15-7. With one away, Jack Thompson was walked. Paez then hit a towering shot just inside the foul pole in right field for a two-run home run, the second dinger of his Westmont career,
Back-to-back-to-back walks were then issued to Zarbaugh, Fletcher and David Martinez, to load the bases with Warrior before Zarbaugh scored on a wild pitch.
Westmont added one more run in the eighth inning, Rodrigues led off with a double to right field and was replaced on the base pads by Paul Mezurashi. The courtesy runner would later advance to third on a wild pitch and reach home on a single by Luke Tillitt.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.