Westmont drops baseball opener at Whittier

It wasn’t the way Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz would have scripted the outcome of opening day as Westmont fell to the Poets of Whittier by a score of 10-7.

In the end, Ruiz found what every coach finds when his team takes the field for the first time — things to be pleased with and things to work on.

“Certain things we did paint a picture of the kind of baseball team we are,” said the coach. “Other things we didn’t do as well as I think we are capable of doing.”

The Warriors kicked off the game and the season with a promising first inning. Freshman shortstop Brent Fukushima led off the game, the season and his collegiate career with a home run to left field, putting the Warriors up 1-0. Then redshirt freshman J.J. Turbin, starting in centerfield, stepped to the plate and delivered a triple to right field. Senior second baseman Jordan Bottenfield was the third Warrior to the plate. His single to right drove in Turbin and put the Warriors up 2-0.

“We showed a little bit of promise out of the gate with our offense in the first inning,” Ruiz said. “It was a good sign that we were aggressive at the plate. But when we come out with a two spot in the top of the first, we have to play defense better.”

In the bottom of the first, the Poets picked up two singles off of starter Daniel Cabuling on what Ruiz described as hits that went, “a combined 60 feet.” Whittier capitalized on those two hits to put together a four run inning.

Cabuling pitched two more innings, both scoreless, before coming out of the game with the Warriors down 4-2. The left-hander, who was charged with the loss, gave up four runs on six hits while striking out five.

“I was happy with the way that Dan responded in the next two innings,” said Ruiz. “He came back and put up two zeros for us.”

Right-hander Michael Kwan replaced Cabuling on the mound in the fourth inning and suffered a similar fate in his first inning of work, giving up three run on four hits. Kwan also pitched three innings, surrendering four runs on six hits.

The Warriors added two runs in the top of the fifth. Turbin scored after walking to reach base. Junior designated hitter Tim Leary was hit by a pitch and then scored on an RBI single by junior left fielder Mitch Petrack.

In the top of the seventh inning, Westmont had an opportunity to get back in the game when they loaded the bases with nobody out. Only Bottenfield would score, however, and that on a wild pitch.

Westmont tacked on two more in the top of the ninth on a two-run home run by senior first baseball Colton Christianson.