Azusa Pacific takes final game at Russ Carr

In the final game of the 2009 season and the final game at Russ Carr Field before construction of a new field, Westmont Baseball was defeated 5-4 by the Cougars of Azusa Pacific on Tuesday afternoon.

Kellen Skersies took the loss for the Warriors. The senior pitched four and one-third innings, giving up four runs on seven hits. Azusa’s Peter Gehle was awarded the win after giving up three runs, two earned, and allowing six hits in six innings of work. Ben Jones, who pitched the final two innings without giving up a run, earned the save.

Azusa Pacific struck first with two runs in the top of the first. Designated hitter Eddie Crespo led off the inning with a double to left center and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Virgil Chavira. Ryan Dowell followed Crespo’s double with a single to right and also scored on a sac fly, this one by Ryan Delgado.

The Warriors tied the score at two runs each in the bottom of the third inning. After Taylor Maddox doubled down the left field line, Taylor Grace hit a bloop single into center field to score Maddox. Grace then advanced to second on a single through the left side by Sam Wiley. Wiley was then replaced on the base pads by courtesy runner Charles Whitman.

With two outs, Mark Boujikian came to the plate for the Warriors. A wild pitch moved Whitman and Grace to second and third respectively. Boujikian then struck out swinging, but the ball got past the Cougar catcher allowing Boujikian to reach first and Grace to score.

Azusa added a single run in each of the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-2 lead, but the Warriors narrowed the gap to just one run in the bottom of the fifth. Jordan Bottenfield started off the inning with a double to left and Grace followed with a single to left to give the Warriors runners on the corners with no outs. A ground ball by Wiley turned into a double play but allowed Bottenfield to score from third.

Azusa Pacific restored the two-run advantage by scoring once in the top of the seventh before Maddox connected for a lead-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to account for the final 5-4 score.

The game brings to an end a season which saw marked improvement in the Warrior Baseball Program. In the first half of the season, the Warriors posted a record of just 3-20, but in the second half, Westmont notched a record of 13-11.

On Wednesday, construction crews will begin moving equipment onto Russ Carr Field with demolition scheduled to begin on Thursday. The new baseball facility is expected to be ready by the beginning of the 2010 season.

After the game, players and coaches dug up home plate, symbolically preserving the past and preparing for the future.

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