Baseball scrapes into GSAC Tournament

Eagles survive make-or-break conference matchup, sending them to the postseason.


Speaker Ed Stetzer | Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES

Keaton Moore, Writer

With their backs against the wall, the Eagles did just enough in their series against the No. 13 ranked Vanguard University Lions to earn themselves a spot in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament.

Squeaking by

Depending on how well the San Diego Christian College Hawks fared against the Hope International University Royals, Biola knew they needed to win at least one game against the Lions in order to advance into the playoffs. In the end, the Eagles finished the regular season with a 15-15 conference record and move on as the fifth seed team.

“We needed to win at least one and have San Diego Christian lose at least one and that’s exactly what happened,” said Sean Rothfuss, senior right-handed pitcher. “And now we’re able to make it into the tournament.”

To kick off the series, the Eagles were unable to battle back from an early five-run deficit. Despite the efforts of freshman second baseman Anj Bourgeois and freshman centerfielder Jerron Largusa, who combined for three runs, Biola lost the series opener 4-10.

As the Hawks took the first game of their series against the Royals, the Eagles had only two more chances to earn a playoff spot. Early into the second game of the series, Biola’s bats came alive and gave them a four-run lead by the second inning. With a four-run cushion, junior starting pitcher Jimmy Gallarda held the Lions to eight hits and two runs through seven innings as the Eagles eventually scored six more runs and flipped the score on the Lions, beating them 10-4.

Royal assistance

Meanwhile, the Hawks lost the middle game of their series against the Royals, which was the final ingredient the Eagles needed to move on into the playoffs.

Despite tying the series finale with an RBI single from senior shortstop Andres Rodriguez, the Eagles lost as the Lions won with a walk-off single. A lead-off walk in the bottom of the seventh eventually scored the game-winning run, resulting in the Eagles’ 3-4 loss. Regardless, the Eagles left Costa Mesa knowing their regular season might have ended, but their postseason was just beginning.

“We were able to see the younger players step up when they have not played that much this season,” Rothfuss said. “They were able to step in and do their job.”

With a number of key starters out of the lineup against the Lions, the Eagles called upon a few lowerclassmen to take their spots, who proved to be the offensive force in the series. Filling in at second base, Bourgeois consistently brought in a run in each of Biola’s games against Vanguard. Despite being held hitless in the series finale, Largusa went 4-11 with two RBIs and one run in the series. Freshman third baseman Joey Margo also went 3-9 through the series with two RBIs and one run.

“It’s really cool in terms of our depth,” said Andrew Frank, junior outfielder. “We had four of our better players sit out the series and we still were able to compete and win a game. It’s fun to see that our next years are promising.”

A tiebreaking finish

Although the Eagles finished the season tied with the Hawks in the conference standings, their series win earlier in the season acted as the tie-breaker, which allowed Biola to advance into the tournament. This season marks the first time Biola has appeared in the GSAC tournament since 2012. Not only that, but finishing 15-15 is the best they have done over the last three seasons, gradually moving up from dead-last in 2013 to back-to-back years finishing in fifth place.

“We need to carry our momentum into the tournament,” Gallarda said. “Record-wise we did not finish spectacular, but we did play some of our best baseball these last two weekends against Westmont and Vanguard.”

The Eagles kick off the GSAC tournament by facing the fourth seed Menlo College Oaks in Santa Barbara on Monday, May 9 at 9 a.m.

0 0 votes
Article Rating