CBB: Harmening dominates The Master’s

Westmont Baseball (34-10, 28-9 GSAC) claimed the first game of a three-game series with #5 The Master’s (37-8, 30-7) behind a two-hit, complete game pitching gem by Russell Harmening.

The junior right-hander faced just 30 batters over nine innings, striking out nine while allowing one walk. Harmening threw 108 pitches to notch his 10th win of the season against two losses. He allowed just four balls to leave the infield, three of which resulted in fly outs.

The game started as a pitching duel between Harmening and the Mustang’s Jason Karkenny, two of the top pitchers in the GSAC. However, Westmont bats broke through for three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to supply the offensive firepower the Warriors needed.

Alex Bush was hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning and then stole second base. On the next pitch, Bush advanced to third on a passed ball. One out later, Blake Matthias powered a double to right center field to drive in Bush and put the Warriors on the board with what would prove to be the winning run.

Michael Pollex drove in Bush with a single through the right side and reached second on the throw to the plate. Pollex scored when Graylin Derke singled through the left side.

A walk to lead-off batter Ryan Crowe got things started in the bottom of the seventh. After Ryan Beveridge replaced Crowe as a courtesy runner, Michael Stefanic produced a sacrifice bunt to move Beveridge into scoring position. One out later, Barring singled to left center to drive in Beveridge. Barring took second on a wild pitch before being Matthias connected for an RBI single.

Westmont’s sixth run came in the eighth inning after Pollex recorded a lead-off single to left center. Michael Frigon, pinch running for Pollex, advanced to second on a balk and then took third on a sacrifice bunt by Derke. Frigon scored on a pinch-hit single by Derek Rodigo.

As a result of the win, the Warriors are now two games behind the Mustangs in the GSAC standings. Westmont and The Master’s will meet up again tomorrow in a doubleheader. The Warriors have an opportunity to move into a first place tie if they can sweep the Mustangs tomorrow.

In other GSAC action, #19 Concordia (38-11, 27-10) defeated Vanguard (32-14, 25-12) by a score of 10-6 to solidify their hold on third place in the conference standings. With five games remaining in the GSAC schedule, Concordia remains one game behind the Westmont and three games behind The Master’s. Vanguard is in fourth place, five games behind The Master’s.

The four top teams in the GSAC standings have already clinched spot in the up GSAC Tournament. The only question to be decided is the seeding and location, the latter of which will be the home field of the first place team at season’s end.