Baseball splits pair of pitching duels with Master’s in GSAC openers

The Biola baseball team lost against The Master’s College on January 26 in the season opener and then came back in game 2.



Brian Loard bats Thursday, April 28, against the Master’s College. The Eagles beat Master’s 13-1. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES

Conner Penfold, Writer

Then senior, Brian Loard, bats Thursday, April 28, 2011 against the Master's College. The Eagles beat Master's 13-1. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES [file photo]

Correction: Game three will be held at The Master's College, not Biola. The Chimes regrets this error.

Biola baseball lost their first game of the season, a 2-0 shutout at the hands of The Master’s College, on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles countered in game two of the doubleheader, reversing the score on the Mustangs en route to a 2-0 shutout of their own.

Redshirt freshman pitcher Trevor Oaks made his second career start in game one, limiting Master’s to just two runs on six hits over seven innings.

“I was just trying to hit my spots and throw good pitches instead of trying to adjust to the umpire or trying not to get hit,” Oaks said.

After a shaky start in his collegiate debut last week against Simpson College, Oaks settled down and has been solid since, giving up just four runs over his last 12 innings while striking out 16 batters.

“In the Simpson game, I started off a little nervous,” Oaks said. “I felt fine when I threw my first pitch but the umpire started squeezing my first three batters. That’s when I started to get nervous because I felt stuck.

“After the Simpson game, I felt a little more confident in what I was doing. I approached this game with a better mindset,” he said.

The right-hander, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, said he feels lucky to be in this position.

“My arm feels great. I haven’t had any problems or pain,” Oaks said. “God truly has blessed me with a healthy recovery.”

Work, Sheaffer combine to shut out Eagles in game one

Senior southpaw A.J. Work took the mound for Master’s, teaming up with fellow senior lefty Daniel Sheaffer to keep Biola scoreless in the opener. Work exited for Sheaffer in the seventh as the two combined on a six-hit shutout.

A third-inning double from senior first baseman Spencer Downs and a fifth-inning single from leadoff man, sophomore shortstop Jonathan Popadics plated the only runs Master’s needed to notch their fourth win of the season.

Junior transfer Will Emerson worked a perfect eighth in relief for Biola, striking out one in his GSAC debut.

Turner, Martinez shut out Mustangs in game two

Senior right-hander Nick Turner picked up right where he left off last season, striking out six Mustangs while allowing just one walk and six hits. Junior lefty Javier Martinez pitched the final 1.2 innings, keeping Master’s off the board while striking out half the batters he faced.

“It felt really good to be playing in conference games again,” Turner said. “After we got shut out in the first game, no one was worried. We played our best in the second game and did all the little things right.”

Biola jumped on Master’s early as sophomore right fielder Paul Slater scored on senior center fielder Benji Sutherland’s infield single. Slater added a run in the seventh with an RBI-single to secure the team’s fourth win of the year.

Sutherland adjusting to new role in lineup

The team’s leadoff man for the last three years, Sutherland finds himself batting cleanup in his final year due to some team ineligibility.

“I need to be a more aggressive hitter and learn to keep my same swing even with runners in scoring position,” Sutherland said.

With junior catcher Nick Oddo returning from academic ineligibility, Sutherland might climb to the third spot, still a far cry from his usual role.

“It’s been a challenge because I’m used to my role being to get on base but now I’m expected to drive in runs,” he said.

Sutherland drove in 28 runs last season batting leadoff in 54 of the team’s 55 games, good enough for fifth best on the team.

Earlier start to conference play means more in-conference games

With the departure of Point Loma, Fresno Pacific and Azusa Pacific universities from the GSAC, the number of conferences matchups per team has increased from four to six, forcing an earlier start to conference play.

The previous three seasons, GSAC play hasn’t begun any earlier than Feb. 23, making this season’s start almost a full month advanced.

“Everyone’s still playing with a little rust and there’s still some butterflies in a few guys’ stomachs,” Turner said.

“I feel that when we play to our full potential, we’re a tough team to beat,” he said.

The Eagles will travel to Santa Clarita today for game three of the season series with a 2 P.M. start and true freshman Josh Staumont on the hill for Biola. 

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