The hunt is on – Azusa Pacific University Athletics

AZUSA, Calif. – Azusa Pacific didn’t make it easy, but still managed a second straight sweep over Hawai’i Pacific on Saturday at the Cougar Baseball Complex, winning the opener 15-12 before hanging on for a 4 win -3 in the last drink. . Azusa Pacific got help elsewhere, as a Point Loma split drew the Cougars even with the Sea Lions atop the PacWest standings as both teams are now 18-6 in conference play with eight games to play.

Match 1: Azusa Pacific 15, Hawaii Pacific 12

The Sharks jumped on the scoreboard early with a run in the first half of the first. Azusa Pacific would respond with a pair of runs on a triple to two out of the center field fence by Casey O’Laughlin take a 2-1 lead. But the fireworks were just getting started as the bottom of the Hawai’i Pacific order hit for back-to-back home runs in the second, driving in three. The Sharks would tack on a pair of runs in the third to take a 6-2 lead before the Cougars responded again.

At the end of the third, Spencer Rasmussen lined house george christison to pull a stroke back. Then with two outs and bases loaded, Jeffrey Castillo lifted a routine fly ball to left field that was misplayed by the Sharks defense, finding the ground and allowing all three runners to score, tying the game at 6-6. Christison would single in a run the next inning to restore the Cougars’ lead. Casey Dykstra then started the fifth with a solo home run down the right field line, and when Brett Soria selected in Castillo, the Cougars had a three-point advantage and looked set to win.

But the game still had some twists and turns, as Hawai’i Pacific pounced on the Cougar bullpen for five runs in the top of the seventh to regain the 11-9 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, the Cougars had two with two out when Tido Robles stepped up and drilled a long ball over the fence to right center, his 15th homer of the season, producing a sixth lead change in the game. The Sharks tied again in the first half of the inning, the Cougars responded once more. O’Laughlin missed and reached second on an error to start the inning, and would score on a single downfield to Dykstra. Castillo then lifted a fly ball over the fence just inside the left field post for a two-run homer. Dykstra then pitched the ninth to earn the stoppage. David Wylie had a very effective outing, coming from the bullpen in third and going four innings without allowing a run, while Korey Shepard went 1.2 to take the win.

Match 2: Azusa Pacific 4, Hawaii Pacific 3

With most of their pitching options unavailable, the Cougars put things back in the back of the bullpen for the seven-inning game, as Michael Gill started and allowed just one hit and one run in 2.2 innings before handing over to Taylor Oulette, who kept the Sharks off the scoreboard for the fourth and fifth. As Hawai’i Pacific struck again for the first inning of the game in the third, the Cougars again fought back with their own pair in the bottom half of the inning. Rasmussen scored the two-point brace, tackling Christison and Aaron Roose.

In the fourth inning, Dykstra again hit a home run, which cleared the net over the wall to center right. It was Dykstra’s third homer in as many games and his 10th of the season. Castillo followed with a double and scored three batters later via an errant pitch from the Sharks’ third baseman. Hawai’i Pacific would threaten in the sixth, tackling a pair of points, but Will Stroud throw the potential tying run at home plate to end the inning, and Andre Blanc would work around a two-out walk in the seventh for his first collegiate save.

In numbers : Roose had a hit and two walks in Game 1 and a walk in Game 2, which means the catcher has now reached base in 21 straight games. Dykstra is the third Cougar to hit double home runs this season, joining Robles (15) and Rasmussen (11). The Cougars have now won seven straight against Hawai’i Pacific and 21 of their last 22 since the 2016 season.

Following: The Cougars are now 29-13 overall, 18-6 in PacWest action, and will continue their homestand with a four-game series against Hawai’i Hilo. The first doubleheader against the Vulcans kicks off on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. and can be streamed live HERE.

Casey Dykstra Celebrate another swipe streak with a flip

POST-MATCH INTERVIEW: Tido Robles & Casey Dykstra

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