LA MIRADA, Calif. — The Master’s College baseball team used different routes but got the same results in a doubleheader sweep of Biola Saturday afternoon.
Leading wire-to-wire in a 7-4 first-game win and rallying to win the nightcap 7-3, the No. 6 Mustangs swept a twinbill from the Eagles for the second time in 2015 and recorded their sixth sweep overall this season. The victories, coupled with Westmont’s split at San Diego Christian, moved the first-place Mustangs 1 1/2 games ahead of the Warriors in the GSAC.
The Mustangs started quickly in game one, scoring a run in each of their first two at-bats. In the top of the first, Josh Brown (Valencia, CA) led off with a single, raced around to third base on a Steve Karkenny double down the left-field line, and scored on Nick Covello’s sacrifice fly to left field.
An inning later, they made it 2-0 when Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) rapped a leadoff single to right-center field, advanced to second base on a Matt Janes’ (Riverside, CA) sacrifice bunt, and sprinted home on Bryce Clancy’s (Phoenix, AZ) rbi single to left field.
The Eagles halved the deficit in the bottom of the inning when Julian Jarrard swatted a leadoff homer to right field off Mustang starter Ty Galloway (Modesto, CA).
Following a quiet third inning from both teams, the Mustangs took command with a three-run fourth. It started with a David Sheaffer (Mt. Airy, NC) leadoff single and continued one out later when Janes drew a free pass. Then, Clancy ripped a double to the alley in right-center that plated John Brazil (Potter Valley, CA), running for Sheaffer, and Janes for a 4-1 lead and he scored moments later when Caleb Halverson (Temple City, CA) made it a four-run margin with a single.
Galloway responded with his second straight 1-2-3 frame and Nick Covello (Skillman, NJ) gave him another run to work with in the top of the fifth when he clubbed a leadoff homer, his fourth of the year, to left field.
Galloway (7-2) survived a potential Eagle rally in the bottom of the fifth, stranding two, but he wasn’t so fortunate in the sixth when the hosts used a double, two singles, and two walks to score three times, closing the gap to 6-4. Reliever Aaron Alexander (Concord, CA) mitigated any further damage, getting the final two outs while giving a preview of a strong closing stint.
He got another run to work with in the seventh when Covello came through again. After Brown opened the frame with a base hit and stole second, the junior third baseman lined a one-out, run-scoring double to right field that gave the Mustangs some much-needed insurance.
Alexander took it from there. He retired the Eagles in order in the seventh, allowed a leadoff single in the eighth and then retired the next three batters, and finished off his first career save with a 1-2-3 ninth. He gave up just one hit, didn’t walk anybody, and struck out two in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Clancy paced the Mustangs’ 13-hit attack with a career-best three hits while Brown, Karkenny, Covello, and Sheaffer had two each.
The nightcap started in inauspicious fashion for the Mustangs as the Eagles nicked starter Conner Menez for two runs on three hits in the first. The Mustangs almost got one or more of those runs back in the top of the second but left the bases loaded after sandwiching two walks around a single.
An inning later, the Mustangs didn’t fail again when given another chance to score. Brown led off with a single and scored on Karkenny’s double to left field, halving the deficit. Then, Collin Nyenhuis (Vista, CA), who was hitless in six previous at-bats on the afternoon, singled home Karkenny to knot the game at 2-2.
It stayed tied until the fifth when the game turned on an offensive explosion by the Mustangs who sent nine batters to the plate, scoring five times to break the deadlock and go up 7-2. Back-to-back leadoff doubles from Karkenny and Nyenhuis snapped the tie, Nyenhuis scored on a passed ball, Robison doubled in another run, Scott Savage (Torrance, CA) singled in the frame’s fourth run, and Halverson capped things off with a run-scoring single.
Menez got in a bit of a jam in the last of the fifth, eventually giving up an earned run before Sheaffer threw out an Eagle at third base to end the inning. It was Menez’ fifth and final inning as he improved to 4-0 after striking out three and allowing two earned runs.
The Eagles threatened again over the final two innings, however, Brown was up to the task in relief, leaving a runner at second base in the sixth and stranding two more in the seventh and final frame after striking out Rob Groeschell to end the game.
The Mustangs equaled their first-game hit total with 13 more in the nightcap and Robison led the way with three hits while Karkenny and Nyenhuis had two apiece.
In the middle of a pennant race, the Mustangs take a brief break from conference play this Tuesday when they travel to Lancaster to take on the University of Antelope Valley in a 2:00pm start.