Defense Helps, Hurts Lopes in 2-game split
By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Defense was the deciding factor in the victory and defeat of the Grand Canyon University Club Baseball team.
The Lopes’ stellar defensive performance in a 7-2 win over Ottawa University came after a disappointing 13-9 loss to Arizona Christian University late last week.
GCU 7, Ottawa 2
The Lopes’ pitchers had a solid performance as Lopes’ standout pitcher Ben Ineson threw 24 strikes on 31 pitches in his three innings.
“The pitchers are finally in their midseason form,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Rich Warnol. “They kept the hitters off balance and were solid in throwing strikes all game.”
The pitching was helped by the Lopes’ defense, including the debut of Lopes’ first baseman Brendan Stell. In his first game in the position for the Lopes, Stell turned an unassisted double play and had multiple picks in his five innings on defense.
GCU’s streaky offense started hot with five runs on five hits through three innings to give them the lead for good before adding two more insurance runs in the 8th inning. Ottawa produced their two runs with a seven-hit attack.
“Offensively, we could have done better as we left 13 players on base,” said Warnol. “Our biggest takeaway was that the pitchers threw strikes and our defense made the plays when we needed them.”
ACU 13, GCU 9
Although the Lopes created more offense against ACU, the defense struggled early, allowing the Firestorm to build a 9-0 lead after three innings. Six of the nine ACU runs were unearned.
GCU finally answered back with a nine-run sixth inning. The Lopes’ booming offense was led by a two-run home run by Zachary Geyer, a Jordan McDonald triple and doubles from Dominic Lopez and Jason Bettencourt.
The tie didn’t last long as the Firestorm scored runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to ice the win.
The Lopes next take the field against Oregon Academy on March 21 at Dream Center High School in Glendale.
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