Baseball ousted by Concordia

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Baseball ousted by Concordia

Senior Jimmy Johnson pitches against Azusa Pacific in one of the last regular season games of 2008.

Senior Jimmy Johnson pitches against Azusa Pacific in one of the last regular season games of 2008.

Photo by Kelsey Heng

Senior Jimmy Johnson pitches against Azusa Pacific in one of the last regular season games of 2008.

Photo by Kelsey Heng

Photo by Kelsey Heng

Senior Jimmy Johnson pitches against Azusa Pacific in one of the last regular season games of 2008.


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The baseball team finished an impressive season in disappointing fashion last week after being eliminated by sixth-seeded Concordia in a their third-round game of the GSAC playoffs.

Biola threw senior Josh Baas in their final game of the year. He tossed 6 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits and walking four. Junior Tim Nolan relieved Baas, but allowed four runs in just 1/3 inning’s work.

Freshman Kyle Atkins then tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings to close out the game. Baas received the loss, falling to 6-4 for the year.

Junior second baseman Hawkins Gebbers went 3-5 in the loss, pushing across one RBI. Junior outfielder David West went 2-5 with 2 RBIs, hitting his fifth home run of the season. Junior Nick Rotkowitz snapped his 26-game hitting streak, going 0-4 with a strikeout.

Concordia scored four runs in the top of the first inning, and the Biola men could never claw their way back. They came within one, at 6-5 in the sixth inning, but Concordia scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning, putting the game out of reach.

Concordia went on to upset No. 2 seed Fresno Pacific in their second game last Thursday, but fell to Azusa Pacific in the championship game, Friday afternoon.

Azusa Pacific was crowned GSAC champion for the second straight season, finishing the year with a 45-8 record. They play Lewis-Clark State College in the NAIA Region II Super Regional, at Lewis-Clark, in a best of three series May 14-17.

The Eagles finished the season 35-18, 23-13 in conference. They were ranked 20th in the last NAIA poll, heading into the playoffs.

“I thought we had a shot [at winning it all] and going into the playoffs, but the game two loss really took a lot out of us,” said junior pitcher Brian Albert. “It was really hard to come back from.”

Albert picked up the Eagles’ only playoff victory last Tuesday when he tossed a complete game against Point Loma. And even though he realized the general mood of the team was disappointment, he is content with a well-played season.

“There was nothing much more we could do,” he said. “It was a really fun year and I was glad to be a part of it.” Albert was quick to recognize the difficulty of the GSAC region, pointing out how the sixth seed, Concordia, took down the fifth, third and second seeds in consecutive games before falling to No. 1 Azusa.

“Anything can happen in this region — it is so competitive,” he said.

Some of the biggest highlights of the year for the Eagles came in the batter’s box. Junior shortstop Nick Rotkowitz broke the franchise record for consecutive hits in a game, keeping the streak alive for a record 26 games. Junior Hawkins Gebbers finished the season with the best batting average in the GSAC, hitting .426. He was among the league leaders in home runs with 13 and also racked up 59 RBIs.

Gebbers was also one of two Eagles to blast back-to-back-to-back home runs in consecutive at-bats earlier in the year. He and junior Chad Pace were the first players in Biola history to accomplish the feat.

The Eagles look forward to next season with high expectations.

“The goal next year is nothing less than the World Series, just like this year,” said an optimistic Albert. “I think we are going to be a really tough club to beat … It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

He will be one of the ten returning seniors to next year’s team.

The team finishes the 2008 season with good memories, and high hopes for next season.

“We will be returning six of eight starters … We are the last lineup I’d ever want to face,” said Albert.