Westmont Baseball (21-5, 10-2 GSAC), ranked 18th in the NAIA, completed a series sweep of #9 Vanguard (17-11, 5-7) by taking both ends of a Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader on Saturday at Russ Carr Field. The Warriors won the first game in come-from-behind fashion by a score of 9-6, then posted a 5-3 win in game number two.
At the midpoint of the GSAC regular season schedule, the Warriors find themselves in first place with a two and one-half game lead over Hope International (17-6, 7-4) and an 11-game winning streak.
The first game started well for the Warriors. Robbie Haw led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, then scored when Brady Renck tripled to right field. Renck scored when Ryan DeSaegher singled to left to make it a 2-0 game.
In the top of the second, however, Vanguard scored two runs of their own to tie the game. The first came on an RBI-single by Fred Buckson that drove in Antonio Omphroy. The second run scored when Luke Arias singled to left to bring Buckson home.
In the top of the fourth, Vanguard bats came alive. The inning started with back-to-back triples by Christopher Famolaro and Arias, making it a 3-2 game. Arias was retired before he could score on a heads up play by first baseman Daniel Patterson. With one away, Michael Downtain attempted a safety squeeze. Patterson fielded the bunt and threw to DeSaegher at third. DeSaegher applied the tag before Arias could scramble back to the bag, resulting in the second out of the inning.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, Downtain would eventually score on an RBI-single by Adam Stevens. Then, Oscar Diaz pounded a two-run home run to right field to make the score 6-2 in favor of the Lions.
The score remained the same until after the seventh-inning stretch. With one away, DeSaegher singled to center field, then advanced to second when Parker O’Neil was hit by a pitch. Finn Snyder came up next and loaded the bases with a single to left center. DeSaegher came home to make the score 6-3 when Patterson walked.
With two away and the bases still packed with Warriors, Shane Hofstadler was asked to pinch hit. The hero of yesterday’s game came through again. His towering fly ball just cleared the right-field fence for a grand slam that gave Westmont a 7-6 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Snyder added on to Westmont’s advantage with his first home run of the year, a two-run shot to right-center.
Aidan Holly was awarded the win, improving his record to 2-0. Holly was one of four relief pitchers – including Sean Youngerman, Lucien Wechsberg and Zach Yates, that pitched five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, striking out six and allowing just one walk. Yates, who pitched the ninth, was credited with the save after retiring the side in order.
Chase Goddard took the mound for the Warriors in the second game, which was slated as a seven-inning affair. Goddard, now 5-1, claimed the win by pitching six innings while allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked one.
Gabe Arteaga collected his fourth save of the year by pitching in the top of the seventh.
Westmont took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Haw led off the inning with a single to left, then stole second. With two outs, DeSaegher knocked an RBI-single into left field.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth, which began with a lead-off double by DeSaegher to left center. The Warriors third baseman reached third on a ground out by David Martinez. Then, Hofstadler picked up his fifth RBI of the day and seventh of the series with a single to right.
Later in the inning, Michael Soper produced his first collegiate home run – a no-doubter to right field – that drove in Liam Critchett and Trey Dunn and put the Warriors on top 5-0.
Vanguard closed the gap in the top of the fifth with a two-run blast by Downtain to right field, making the score 5-2. It was a score that would be carried into the seventh and final inning.
With Arteaga on in relief, the Lions loaded the bases with no outs. That brought up Stevens, who hit a ground ball to third. DeSaegher fielded the ball, stepped on third base, and fired across the diamond to first for a double play. Famolaro scored on the play, accounting for the 5-3 final score.
Arteaga then coaxed Diaz to ground out to third for the final out that completed the sweep.
The Warriors will have a bye in conference play next week and will instead welcome the Flames of Bethesda to Russ Carr Field for a three-game series. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Friday and the series finally on Saturday.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.