Warriors Secure Title, Top Seed and Host Site

Submitted by: Ron Smith - April 29th, 2016

 

Derek Rodigo

Derek Rodigo

Westmont bats (40-8, 24-4 GSAC) exploded for 10 runs in the first three innings to propel the sixth-ranked Warriors to a 12-3 Golden State Athletic Conference win at Menlo (32-19, 15-13). The win reduces the Warriors’ magic number to zero, meaning that they have secured an outright GSAC Regular Season Championship, first seed in the upcoming GSAC Tournament and the right to host the conference tournament.

The Warriors last won a GSAC regular season championship in 1994 when they were co-champions with Point Loma Nazarene with identical 12-8 conference records. The last time the Warriors stood alone as GSAC baseball champions was in 1989, when they finished with a GSAC record of 18-6, one game ahead of California Lutheran. Westmont was also GSAC Champions in 1988 with an 18-6 record, one game ahead of Azusa Pacific.

Today, Westmont extended its conference winning streak to 11 games and its Friday winning streak to 16 games. The Warriors have not lost on a Friday since April 10, 2015.

Daniel Butler picked up is 11th win of the season against just one loss. The junior right-hander pitched seven innings allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits. Butler struck out three and did not allow a walk.

Lance Simpson pitched the final two scoreless innings for the Warriors. Simpson surrendered one hit, struck out three and walked one.

Warrior hitters connected for 15 hits, 10 of which came in the first three innings.

Michael Stefanic led off the game with a single to left and advanced to second when Michael Frigon was walked. After Alex Bush lined out to shortstop for the first out of the inning, Jarrett Costa was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Michael Valentin, Jr. then replaced Costa at first as a courtesy runner, resulting in Michael-laden bases.

A single through the right side of the infield by Graylin Derke reduced the overcrowding on the bags, driving in Stefanic and Frigon and moving Valentin to second. Derek Rodigo then singled to left to drive in Valentin and advanced Derke to second. One out later, Turner Conrad drove in Derke with a single through the right side.

After Menlo scored an unearned run in the bottom of the second, Westmont added four more in the top of the second. Once again, Stefanic led off and, once again, produced a single. A sacrifice bunt by Frigon moved Stefanic to second. Bush pushed a ground ball to the right side of the infield that moved Stefanic to third and produced the second out of the inning.

That brought up Costa whose infield single was combined with an error that allowed Stefanic to score and Costa to reach second. After Valentin resumed base duties for Costa, Derke was hit by a pitch. Valentin and Derke’s base running assignments were made easy when Rodigo followed with his sixth home run of the year, this one over the left field fence.

With one away in the top of the third, Andrew Devian singled through the right side and advanced to second when Stefanic singled to right. After Frigon flied out Bush was walked, once again loading the bases with Warriors. Costa then singled up the middle to drive in Devian and Frigon.

Menlo made it a 10-3 game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but that was the end of the Oaks’ scoring. The Warriors tacked on two more in the top of the eighth when Derke’s doubled down the right field line drove in Frigon and Rodigo’s sacrifice fly to center scored Valentin.

The Warriors will finish off the regular season with a doubleheader at Menlo beginning at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. Next week, the Warriors will take time off for final examinations. Beginning Monday, May 9, Westmont will host the five-team double elimination GSAC Tournament.

Along with Westmont, #13 Vanguard (36-12-1, 21-7) and The Master’s (32-16, 17-11) have secured berths in the upcoming conference tournament. Menlo, San Diego Christian (26-17, 14-14) and Biola (27-24, 14-14) are contending for the two remaining slots. San Diego Christian is hosting Hope International (20-27-1, 10-18) tomorrow while Biola is at Vanguard.

Following the GSAC Tournament, Westmont will serve as an NAIA Baseball Opening Round Tournament site beginning on May 17. Teams participating in that tournament will be revealed on May 13.

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