By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern
Needed: six wins in six games.
Needing to avoid any losses to get back into the heart of their respective playoff races, both the Division 1 (D1) and the Division 2 (D2) teams for GCU Club Baseball swept San Diego State University (SDSU) and Arizona State University (ASU), respectively, in National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) play this past weekend. The wins put the D2 team in position to clinch the NCBA’s Pacific Region South Conference crown next weekend; and keep the playoff hopes alive for the D1 squad in the Southern Pacific South Conference.
D1: Gm 1: GCU 7, SDSU 4; Gm 2: GCU 10, SDSU 3; Gm 3: GCU 14, SDSU 10
“We scored a bunch of runs,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Rich Warnol on the three wins this past weekend in San Diego, California. “We had 13 hits in Game 1, 15 in Game 2, and 14 in Game 3. It was a good series. We needed three wins, and it was good for us to come home with all three Ws.”
Lopes’ third baseman David Macias had eight hits to lead GCU’s hit parade, scoring seven times, and knocking in four runs. GCU 1st baseman Zach Broussely and shortstop Taylor Brooks each added seven hits, scored a combined 9 runs and knocked in 6 RBI between them,
On the pitching side, Nick Hershey pitched six innings for the Game 1 victory, striking out four. Game 2 starter Matt McWilliams pitched five and 2/3 innings, struck out two batters, and only allowed three earned runs to give GCU the win.
The Lopes hope that one sweep will begat another, since the road trip heads to Tucson this weekend for another conference three-game set against the University of Arizona (U of A).
“They have had our number a little bit in the past,” highlighted Warnol. “I think we should be alright. We just have to stay offensive minded and hopefully our pitches throw strikes and we should be okay.”
Saturday’s doubleheader on Saturday, April 20 begins at 1 pm, as does Sunday’s single game. All the games will be played at Arthur Pack Regional Park in Tucson.
D2: Gm 1: GCU 3, ASU 2; Gm 2: GCU 14, ASU 9; Gm 3: GCU 6, ASU 5
“We needed the three wins for sure,” emphasized Lopes’ Head Coach Fred Speck on the weekend. “It puts us in a position to win out and win conference.”
Getting the three wins was important for the Lopes to obtain, but seemed unlikely heading to the final frame of Game 1.
“We were down 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th with two outs and nobody on,” said Speck. “We got lucky with a flyball the ASU outfielder did not see. It landed in, our next guy walked, and our next batter hit a ground ball to third, but the 3rd baseman threw it away and our two guys on base scored to give us the win.”
That set the winning tone for the Lopes to sweep the weekend, including a win in the third game after trailing, 4-0, after an inning.
For the Lopes, 3rd baseman Noah Calderon went 4-for-9 at the plate to lead the way. Pitcher Seth Cunningham recorded his fourth win on the season in the first game, and Kasey Tucker got the save in the third game by striking out the final two batters with runners on 2nd and 3rd.
Now the D2 team travels to Escondido, California to play a three-game series against California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) this Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21. A Lopes’ sweep earns them the Pacific South Conference crown and an automatic berth to regionals.
“We cannot take CSUSM for granted,” mentioned Speck. “Their only two conference wins have been against University of San Diego (the top team in the conference), and USD has beaten us four times this season.”
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