MBB: Warriors win postponed GSAC opener

After two days of delays and a change of venue, Westmont Baseball (3-0, 1-0 GSAC) finally got to play their Golden State Athletic Conference opener against San Diego Christian (4-1, 0-1 GSAC). Westmont scored one run in the third and another in the fourth, then added four more in the bottom of the eighth to produce a 6-1 win in the first of three games against the Hawks.

“Fundamentally, I think our team did some things well today,” said Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz. “Obviously we are pleased to come away with a win in our first GSAC game.”

Senior right-hander Torin Shaikh picked up the win, improving his record to 2-0 on the young season. Shaikh pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He struck out two and walked two. Freshman right-hander Michael Rishwain earned his first collegiate save by pitching the final three innings and giving up one run on two hits. Rishwain struck out four and walked one.

“Torin did a really good job keeping the ball down in the zone,” assessed Ruiz. “His change-up was working well and he kept guys off balance. When he faced a little bit of adversity, he stuck to his plan and filled up the strike zone.”

“I am really excited for Michael,” said Ruiz. “What he has shown us is that he is a competitive strike thrower. I was proud of the way he competed today. Even when he gave up a home run, he came back and struck the next batter out.”

San Diego Christian starter Joey Aquino was charged with the loss after giving up one run on three hits in three innings of work. Jesse Hernandez pitched four innings for the Hawks and though he gave up two runs on three hits, he also retired 11 Warriors in a row.

Junior shortstop Brent Fukushima led off the bottom of the third inning with a single up the middle, then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by junior right fielder Chris Stroh. A single through the right side by senior second baseman David Pennington, advanced Fukushima to second, giving the Warriors runners on the corners with one away. Senior outfielder J.J. Turbin drove in Fukushima with a ground ball to second, accounting for the single run in the third.

In the fourth inning, the Warriors added a run after junior catcher Brandon Gildea hit a one-out single to right. Pinch running for Gildea, freshman Spencer Ferdun advanced to second on a wild pitch, then took third when sophomore designated hitter Will Barring singled to center field. After Barring stole second, senior left fielder Greg Ruggles hit a ground ball to first, Ferdun beat the throw to the plate to score the Warriors’ second run.

The Hawk’s run came in the top of the seventh inning, the result of a solo home run by first baseman Taylor Eichhorst.

The big four-run eighth inning got underway with a lead-off single by Pennington. That prompted the Hawks to replace reliever Jesse Hernandez with Nick Greene. Greene walked Turbin, and then gave up a deep fly ball to right field to David Gabel that allowed Pennington and Turbin to each advance one base.

“I was really happy with Pennington’s two-strike hit to lead off the inning for us,” said Ruiz. “He is a competitive, scrappy ball player that finds a way to put pressure on the defense.”

After junior Hunter Christianson was intentionally walked, Gildea delivered a sacrifice fly allowing Pennington to score. Barring then delivered a two-out single to right field that drove in Turbin and advanced Christianson to third base.

“Will proved today that he can be a productive hitter and a competitive bat in our lineup,” noted Ruiz.

A single into right by Ruggles drove in Christenson and moved Barring over to second. After Fukushima was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Greene was replaced on the mound by David Barosso. However, Barosso walked Stroh to record the fourth run of the inning.

The Hawks threatened in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with two outs. Rishwain, however, struck out designated hitter Dylan Jones to secure the win for the Warriors.

Westmont and San Diego Christian will conclude the series on Monday with a doubleheader beginning at 11:00 a.m.