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Baseball - Sat, Apr. 29, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
The 2017 seniors and Coach Pfohl after sweeping SDC on Senior Day
The 2017 seniors and Coach Pfohl after sweeping SDC on Senior Day
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Game 1
Game 2
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San Diego Christian College
(RV)Hope International

PLACENTIA, CA – (RV) Hope International University finished its final GSAC season series on Saturday with a sweep of San Diego Christian. The Hawks did not make it easy for the Royals but HIU was able to manufacture late-game offense in both halves of the doubleheader to finish Senior Day with a pair of wins.

The two wins put HIU at 19-10 in the GSAC this season, good enough for a share of the GSAC title in a tie with Biola and Vanguard as it stands. The Royals are short a game in the standings and can claim the title outright by completing a suspended game against Westmont – the Royals are currently trailing 0-2 in that game with a Westmont runner at first and two out in the top of the fifth, should play resume.

George Castillo worked seven innings in a no-decision outing for HIU in game one, recording six strikeouts while allowing six runs on ten hits to the Hawks. Justin Moulds continued his career streak of weekend appearances with a scoreless inning of work and D.J. Batuyong combined with Jeff Schwartz to pitch the ninth – Schwartz became the winner on just seven pitches after the Royals' offense came alive with three runs for the walkoff win in the ninth.

The two teams traded single runs in the first inning – SDC strung together a single and a pair of sacrifice at-bats and HIU answered with a run after Brandon Gonzalez reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, took third on the play after a throwing error, and scored by stealing home on a delayed double steal.

The Royals took the lead after Gonzalez launched a solo shot into heavy winds in the bottom of the third inning – the winds blew in from right field all through game one, but Gonzalez didn't seem to mind as he jogged around the bases after securing the 2-1 lead for HIU.

SDC would take back the lead with three runs in the fifth and plated two more in the top of the eighth to lead 6-3 with just six outs remaining for HIU. The Royals plated their third in the seventh as Sam Weaver drew a pinch-hit walk, Cameron Baranek singled, and after loading the bases the Royals scored from third after SDC tried to get the force-out at home and sailed the throw to the back stop.

HIU got another run in the eighth after Nathaniel Crawford drew a walk, took second on a wild pitch, and came in on a triple to straightaway center by Baranek. The Royals would strand Baranek but plated three in the ninth to close the game.

After pitching around a runner in the top of the ninth, HIU entered the bottom of the frame trailing 4-6. Jeff Murray drew a walk and was replaced by Dominic Potlongo before Will Davis singled to right field and joined him on the base paths. Sean David Clark doubled to left center and plated Potlongo before Garrett Munoz entered to run for Clark – a sacrifice fly by Justin Broussard plated Davis, and a final error at first allowed Munoz to sprint home for the winning run after Jose Tejeda reached first safely.

Josh Steele started game two and lasted four and two thirds for the Royals, allowing only two runs on five hits to the Hawks while striking out a pair. Steele picked up his third win of the season after Moulds and Dixon combined for the final two and a third frames – Dixon picked up his fifth save and Moulds registered his second scoreless outing of the afternoon for his trouble.

SDC struck first again with two in the opening inning, but the Royals erupted with four runs in the third frame after two quiet frames to begin game two. Broussard drew a leadoff walk and Weaver singled up the middle to put a pair on base. A passed ball and a subsequent poor throw into center field put Weaver at second and scored Broussard from second – Jonathan Marriott entered to run for Weaver before Brett Thompson joined Marriott after reaching base on a fielder's choice. Gonzalez lifted his second homer of the day out to center field and plated the fourth of the Royals' runs in the inning with the blast up the opposite alley.

Now firmly in front, the Royals' pitching staff continued to put zeroes on the scoreboard and got one final insurance run from the offense in the sixth. Broussard led off with a double, Tejeda singled to move him over a base, and a deep sacrifice fly from Baranek gave HIU a 5-2 lead.

The Royals would be thankful for the fifth run after Dixon allowed a pair of solo shots in the seventh, but a final fly out to Gonzalez in right field sealed the Hawks' fate and HIU picked up its fifth straight win with a 5-4 final in game two of the afternoon.

"I couldn't say more than [that I am] forever grateful [to these seniors]," Coach Erich Pfohl said after the game. "Without players, we have nothing, and to have this group give us their trust and commit to us with no uniforms, no field, no bats, and tell us that they have faith, it requires us [as coaches] to give them our all – I couldn't be prouder of what these guys have accomplished and we're not done yet."

HIU has now set the single-season bar for program wins at 29 with a 29-14 overall record in the program's second season and will have a chance to clinch their first GSAC title with the completion of the Westmont game – tune in to our website and social medias on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for updates on that game time next week at @hiuroyals. 

 
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