CBB: Warriors finish 2nd in GSAC; draw Concordia in playoffs

Westmont split a doubleheader with Concordia on Saturday and finished in second place in the final GSAC standings.

The Warriors (37-13, 31-11) finished two games behind GSAC champion The Master’s and two games ahead of Concordia. They’ll take on Concordia (40-14, 29-13) again in the first game of the four-team GSAC Tournament on Thursday at The Master’s. The host Mustangs play fourth-seeded Vanguard in the other first-round game.

Butler gave up just three hits while facing 31 batters over nine innings, striking out two and walking one. Butler has recorded a win in each of his last eight starts and has thrown complete games in his last three outings.

Offensively, the Warriors scored a single run in the third and fourth innings. With one away in the third, Michael Stefanic was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second when Alex Bush singled through the right side. A single by Will Barring drove in Stefanic.

A one-out single by Rudy Leon in the fourth inning gave the Warriors a base runner. Ryan Crowe doubled down the right-field line resulting in two runners in scoring position. After Stefanic grounded out to third, Bush was intentionally walked. That brought up Barring who was unintentionally walked, giving the senior center fielder his second RBI of the game.

The second game saw Concordia take a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs and runners at second and third, John Bornhop singled to center to drive in both runners.

Before Westmont recorded an out in their half of the fourth, the Warriors had both runs back. They would add one more before the inning was over.

A lead-off double by Barring was followed by a triple down the right field line by Blake Matthias. Designated hitter David Gabel then singled to center to drive in Matthias. After Turner Conrad walked to put runners on first and second, Concordia starter Robbie Ingram was replaced on the bump by Nick Boyett.

Left fielder Ryan Beveridge greeted Boyett with a sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners into scoring position. A single by Leon allowed Gabel to score.

The Eagles tied the score in the top of the fifth when starter Andrew Vasquez threw ball four to Kyle Jones. The wild pitch allowed Ryan Goodman to not only advance to third as a result of the walk, but to cross the plate as well.

Vasquez closed out the inning without further damage and then retired from the game. He allowed three runs on two hits in the no-decision outing. He struck out seven and walked three.

Senior Shane Turner pitched the sixth inning, walking one but allowing no other baserunner. Adrian Farago came in the top of the seventh and would eventually be charged with the loss.

Concordia’s John Doering walked to start the inning and advanced to second when Goodman grounded out to third. With a man on second Michael Rishwain was called upon to relieve Farago. Jones then singled to right, driving in Doering for what would become the winning run.

In the bottom of the seventh, the last inning scheduled in the nightcap, Concordia sent Tyler Mark to the mound. Mark entered the game with an NAIA record 20 saves on the season.

With one away, Stefanic singled to left field and then took second when Bush walked. Zach DeMarcus then pinch ran for Stefanic.

Will Barring stepped to the plate for the Warriors and sent a sharply hit ground ball down the left field line. Jones, the Concordia third baseman, fielded the ball and stepped on the bag to retire DeMarcus. He then threw to first in an attempt to complete a game-ending double play. His throw, however, went wide, bounding to the right field fence and bouncing into right field.

Bush dashed for third and then headed home. Right fielder Robert Shiroky retrieved the ball and threw it to catcher Luke Van Holten. Bush reversed direction and headed back to third base. As he did, Jones fell down, leaving third base uncovered.

Bush, however, had his back to the bag and could not see that the coast was clear to return safely to third. Instead, Bush tried to change direction again, anticipating a throw from Van Holten to third.Bush lost his footing and fell, allowing Van Holten to run up and tag him for the game’s final out.