31 runs in 19 innings power Lopes to three-game sweep of Arizona at Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
A little extra water, and a little extra time? Still well worth it.
Scheduling issues may have delayed the start of Grand Canyon University Club Baseball’s three-game series with the University of Arizona, but they didn’t prevent the Lopes’ offense from pounding out 31 runs and 28 hits in sweeping the Wildcats at Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark this weekend. After Saturday’s doubleheader was moved to Sunday and reduced Saturday’s play to a single nine-inning affair, the Lopes only needed seven innings to ‘mercy-rule’ Arizona in Game 1, 11-1; then posted a five-inning, 12-0 mercy-rule victory to begin the twin bill Sunday before finishing it off with an 8-2 victory in Game 3. The wins upped the Lopes’ record in National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) Southern Pacific (SoPac) South Conference play to 5-1 and kept them ahead of San Diego State University in the race for first place in the division.
H2: Game 1 (Saturday): GCU 11, Arizona 1 (F/7)
Upon arriving to Brazell Field Saturday for an expected doubleheader, the focus for Lopes’ Head Coach Rich Warnol quickly turned from lineup cards and taking infield to field maintenance and coordinating schedules. A scheduling oversight left the field with a skeleton maintenance crew and an overwatered field in expectation of a weekend of no games played on that surface. Once the matter was resolved, officials waited until noon to let the field dry up for Game 1, and shifted Game 2 to part of a Sunday twin bill. The delay did nothing to cool the Lopes’ bats, who exploded for five runs in the first three innings. A Michael Quintana double and a Johnny Campbell three-run blast gave the Lopes a 4-0 lead after two innings, then three third-inning singles tacked on another run.
After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, the extra cushion allowed Lopes’ starting Ben Ineson to find his groove, retiring nine in a row from the second through fifth innings, and holding the Wildcats scoreless until the seventh. The freshman from Hillsboro, Oregon, scattered five hits while striking out seven in notching his first win of the year. The Lopes finished it off in the seventh thanks to wildness from Wildcats’ pitching, who loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter, allowed Campbell to beat the throw home on a bases-loaded ground ball, gave up a bases-clearing double to Quintana, then two walks later, booted a grounder to shortstop that allowed Quintana to score and invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
Quintana led the Lopes’ offensive attack with two doubles and a single in four at-bats, scoring twice and knocking in four runs.
H2: Game 2 (Sunday): GCU 12, Arizona 0 (F/5)
Despite waiting an extra day to play it, the second game of the series was eerily similar to the first. Lopes’ starter Nick Fox retired the first eight Arizona hitters to face him, and allowed just one Wildcats’ baserunner to get past first base the entire game. Six of the first seven Lopes’ hitters got on base in the second inning, thanks to two walks, a hit batter and a pair of
Arizona errors. RBI singles from Jonah Zembik and Reid Magnaghi helped the Lopes to a 6-0 lead, which they’d double with a run in the third inning and a five-run fourth. Fox closed out the one-hitter by fanning Wildcats’ pinch-hitter Jaylen Clay to end the game in the fifth, and even his record at 1-1. Zembik went 3-for-3 at the plate for the Lopes with a double, two runs scored and two RBI.
H2: Game 3 (Sunday): GCU 8, Arizona 2
While the final score was much more competitive, the flow of the game wasn’t. The Wildcats only avoided the shutout by scoring both runs in the final inning, and the Lopes plated at least one run in each of the first five frames. The Wildcats’ offense did keep the Lopes’ defense moving, though, since GCU starting pitcher Koby Anderson had to work out of jams in each of the first four innings, including striking out
Arizona’s Cole Carrigan with the bases loaded to end the fourth. Anderson settled down to retire the last seven
Arizona hitters he faced before giving way after five innings. While Anderson had to work at getting his second win of the season by walking one and hitting three Arizona batters, the Greeley, Colorado native only allowed four hits and struck out five in getting the victory.
On the other side, Wildcats’ pitcher Brady Cristoph and Kyle Phelan each went three innings, but combined to throw 51 balls in 122 pitches, giving the Lopes ample chances to score. GCU had at least two hits in four of the six innings, and 11 of the Lopes’ 13-hit attack were singles. GCU first baseman Kaipo Panui highlighted the attack by going 3-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of RBI, and both he and Taylor Brooks reached base in every at-bat.
The Lopes’ next opponent is South Mountain Community College for a single non-conference matchup at SMCC this Wednesday, March 4 at 3 pm.
H2: Division II Lopes sweep Cal-State San Marcos
The Lopes’ Division II Club Baseball team also powered their way to a home sweep of their series this weekend, dispatching California State University San Marcos in three games at Washington High School in Phoenix. The Lopes held off the Cougars in both halves of the Saturday doubleheader, winning 9-5 and 5-3; then returned for the Sunday single game and mercy-ruled CSUSM in five innings, 14-3. The sweep helped the Lopes (5-1) keep pace with undefeated Community Christian College (California) in the Pacific Region South Conference standings.
The DII Lopes next travel to Glendale Community College for a single, non-conference affair this Thursday, March 5 at 3 pm.
Interested in joining GCU Club Baseball? Check out the team page to learn more!