MESA, Ariz. – The University of Antelope Valley Pioneers completed a three-game sweep of the No. 16-ranked Redhawks of the University of Benedictine at Mesa Saturday to retake the top position in the Cal Pac standings, with a narrow 7-6 win in game one, and a victory in game two, 10-7.
The UAV baseball program returns to Lancaster after a 4-0 Arizona road trip seven games above .500 and with a 1-1/2 game advantage over the second-place Redhawks with just six Cal Pac games remaining on their schedule. The win improves the Pioneers’ record to 24-17-1; 19-5 in the Cal Pac conference.
Three of those games will be against La Sierra University (9-24; 5-19 Cal Pac) at home next weekend, a team that UAV is 19-4 against all time and 2-1 against this season, and the final three conference games will be played at Simpson University (18-17-1; 11-11 Cal Pac), with the Pioneers holding a 20-2 all-time record against the Red Hawks, including a 3-0 record this season.
Game 1: UAV kicked off the scoring in the first game with two runs in the top of the first inning and would add one in the third, and after the Pioneers’ offense got a lift from a multi-home run game from senior third baseman Nate Broaddus (Lemoore, CA), UAV would hold off a late rally from the Redhawks to earn thr win by the slimmest of margins, 7-6, taking a half-game advantage over BENU in the Cal Pac standings.
Senior right-hander Donovan Bertoncini (Madera, CA) (5-3) threw eight strong innings and earned his fifth win of the season, allowing 10 hits and four runs while walking four and striking out three, and freshman righty Zach Carr (Madera, CA) and sophomore lefty Cameron Heinrich (Riverside, CA) combined to toss the final inning, with Heinrich earning his first save of the season.
UAV’s offense bested BENU’s talented pitcher Aaron Vernon, handing him his first loss of the season as it combined to total 14 hits, including the two home runs off the bat of Broaddus to go along with four RBI.
Four other Pioneers finished with a multi-hit game, including junior shortstop Tyler Van Marter (Yucaipa, CA) who added a double and two RBI, and sophomore right fielder Keola Viloria (Diamond Bar, CA) went 1-for-3 with a RBI.
Game 2: The Pioneers wasted no time getting on the board in the first inning aided by yet another dinger from the bay of Broaddus, a two-run shot in the first inning as UAV would add three total runs in the opening inning.
BENU tied things up in the bottom of the third, but behind two runs in the fifth, one in the eighth and four in the ninth inning, UAV would go on to earn the victory, 10-7, completing the sweep of the Redhawks and placing the Pioneers in first place in the Cal Pac standings once again with a 1-1/2 game lead.
UAV senior right-handed starter Tanner White (Martinez, CA) (3-1) earned the win, allowing eight hits and five runs across seven innings, walking three and striking out three, and Heinrich pitched the final two innings to earn his second save of the day, allowing four hits and two runs while walking two and striking out none.
Junior left fielder Kaleyl Anderson (Victorville, CA) and senior designated hitter Mitch Cox (Spokane, WA) each finished with three hits, Broaddus and junior first baseman Allen Pacheco (San Pedro, CA) each added two hits and combined for five RBI, and Van Marter knocked in one.
Next game: Coached by Jacob Garsez, the Pioneers return home to open a three-game Cal Pac series with La Sierra University, beginning with a single game on Thursday, April 18 at 2:00 p.m. PST at the Hangar in Lancaster.