CBB: Westmont nails down playoff berth

Westmont is playoff bound.

With an 8-4 victory over The Master’s in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Warriors earned a berth in next week’s Golden State Athletic Conference Championship tournament.

The Warriors (34-16, 21-15) also tied the record for the most wins in program history.

Alex Bush (3-3) claimed the win for the Warriors after pitching six and one-third innings of the seven inning game. Bush allowed four runs on nine hits, struck out four and walked two. Hunter Christenson picked up his fourth save of the season when he entered the game with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh.

After giving up two runs in the top of the first inning, the Warriors put together a five-inning bottom half of the first to take the lead for good. With one away, Joey Gonzales walked and then reached third on a single to right by Brandon Gildea.

David Gabel then laid down a squeeze bunt that allowed Gonzales to score. An errant throw resulted in Ryan Beveridge, who had replaced Gildea as a courtesy runner at first base, reaching third and Gabel taking second.

One out later, Brent Fukushima hit a towering pop fly into the swirling winds that eventually bounced of a Mustangs’ fielder’s glove. The play allowed both Beveridge and Gabel to score. Will Barring then doubled to right center, driving in Fukushima and taking third on the throw to the plate. Rudy Leon’s single to right field brought home Barring from third.

The Warriors added a run in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Gildea that drove in Leon. Then in the fifth inning, they added two more on an RBI single by Leon and a bases loaded walk to Gonzales.

In the top of the seventh inning, Joe Riddle led off with a home run to dead center field, reducing the Warriors’ lead to 8-3. The Mustangs would later add another run on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Popadics, but they would fall short in their comeback attempt.

In the early game, Westmont suffered a 2-0 defeat despite Russell Harmening (11-3) striking out 12 batters and allowing just three hits over eight innings.

The GSAC Tournament will begin on Thursday, May 1 and will be hosted by regular season champion San Diego Christian. The exact location of the tournament is to be announced, but will be in the San Diego area. San Diego Christian will be the top seed and as such will play Westmont, the number four seed at 12:00 p.m. in the double elimination bracket.

The Master’s (37-14, 23-13 GSAC) is the number two seed and will play third-seeded Vanguard in the early game at 9:00 a.m. Concordia, ranked #22 in the NAIA, was eliminated from GSAC Tournament play when they lost to Vanguard 3-2 in 13 innings in the final game of the regular season.