Biola moves to one game away

After winning the first three rounds of the playoffs, baseball is one win away from their first ever conference championship.


Marika Adamopoulos

Katie Evensen/THE CHIMES

Keaton Moore, Writer

Entering the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament as the lowest ranked team, the Eagles defied the odds and homered their way to their first ever conference championship appearance. Before the championship series, the Eagles went undefeated through the first three rounds of the playoffs, beating the fourth seed Menlo College Oaks, first seed Westmont College Warriors and third seed The Master’s College Mustangs.

Discipline at the plate

Senior starting pitcher Eric Diomartich dominated the opening round, pitching 8.1 innings and allowing only four hits, two runs with eight strikeouts and eventually earned the win for Biola’s 4-2 victory. While Diomartich held down the Oaks, junior first baseman Jimmy Gallarda and the rest of the Eagles’ offense produced enough runs to secure the round one victory.

Discipline at the plate brought in the first run of the game as senior left fielder Aaron Chavez walked in a run in the top of the second. Two innings later, Gallarda padded the Eagles’ lead with Biola’s first home run of the playoffs. Leading 2-1, junior left fielder Jeremy Barth and Gallarda scored two insurance runs in the top of the eighth.

With men on the corners in the bottom of the ninth, sophomore right-handed pitcher Daniel Jang took the mound and preserved the Eagles’ 4-2 victory, earning his fifth save of the season.

Beating the Oaks meant the Eagles moved on to play Westmont later the same day. Although the Warriors have caused problems for the Eagles in the past, beating them in their last 12 matchups, Biola came through when it counted and beat Westmont 4-2 in the second round of the playoffs.

Battling back from a two-run deficit, a trio of home runs produced the runs needed for the Eagles to conquer the Warriors. With two outs in the top of the fourth, the Eagles caught up with Westmont as Barth and junior shortstop Alec de Watteville hit back-to-back homers off the Warriors’ starting pitcher.

back-to-back errors

From there the game remained quiet until the top of the eighth when freshman center fielder Jerron Largusa put the Eagles ahead with the third home run of the game. Beating the Warriors 4-2, Gallarda earned the win with his seven-inning, eight-hit and two-run outing and improved to 7-6 on the season.

After sweeping the first two rounds, the Eagles clinched a conference championship appearance by defeating The Master’s College. A pair of home runs from junior second baseman JD Meyer overcame a number of costly errors committed by the Eagles as he fueled the offense to beat the Mustangs 3-2.

The Mustangs took advantage of back-to-back errors to take an early 0-1 lead over Biola in the top of the second and later extended their lead in the top of the fifth. Down 0-2, Meyer, who walked in the first and flew out in the third, led off the bottom of the sixth with his first home run of the game.

Meyer hit a go-ahead blast with a man on first in the bottom of the eighth. With a one-run lead, Jang entered the game in the ninth and took care of the last three batters with two strikeouts and a groundout.

late inning rally

With the top two teams knocked out of the playoffs without winning a game, the Mustangs eliminated the Oaks and moved on to face the Eagles in the championship series. Despite Biola’s late inning rally, it was not enough to support junior starting pitcher Sean McCarrell’s shaky start as the Eagles lost 6-12.

The Mustangs wasted no time and jumped on McCarrell, who gave up 10 hits and nine runs through only 2.2 innings. By the time the Eagles put their first runs on the board in the top of the eighth, they faced an 11-run deficit. An RBI single from Meyer and a three-run homer from de Watteville cut the Eagles’ deficit down to seven runs.

After putting up four runs in the top of the eighth, the Eagles continued to battle back, scoring two off a double from freshman third baseman Joey Margo and Meyer’s sacrifice fly. However, their efforts fell short as they lost their first game of the playoffs to the Mustangs.

Because the Eagles entered the series undefeated in the double elimination playoffs, a second game is needed to decide the conference champion. That game is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 12 at 12 p.m.

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