Chak Hee Lo / THE CHIMES
The overarching theme for the Eagles this season has been their defiance of their preseason ranking of eighth place in the PacWest coaches’ baseball poll. Their rebellion came first in words and then in action, as Biola now jostles for second in the conference about halfway through the season. The Eagles made their boldest statement yet by going into Riverside, Calif. on April 5 and getting a 9-7 win against the California Baptist University Lancers, picked first in that same poll.
STAINBROOK STRIKES BACK
After allowing at least three runs in each of his past five starts, junior pitcher Troy Stainbrook went six innings against CBU while only giving up one run. Meanwhile, manager Jay Sullenger’s revamped lineup paid off immediately for the Eagles’ offense. Freshman designated hitter Ryan Gallegos led off the game with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly from junior outfielder Jerron Largusa.
The Eagles padded their lead with a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by a three-run double from junior second baseman Joey Magro, who was batting sixth instead of his usual spot at the top of the order. Stainbrook finally allowed the Lancers to get on the board in the sixth but escaped without any further damage. He finished with a line of 94 pitches, one earned run, six hits, five strikeouts and one walk.
EAGLES WIN BULLPEN “BATTLE”
Magro added another RBI in the top of the seventh with a single. Junior pitcher Dallas Burk started off the bottom of that inning and immediately ran into trouble, as a wild pitch strikeout and a misplayed single put runners on second and third with nobody out. CBU’s next batter hit a two-run double to make the score 7-3, and Burk was pulled from the game after issuing a walk and another wild pitch. Sophomore reliever Josh Ludeman had even less success, allowing a sacrifice fly, home run and RBI triple to tie the game at seven before finally getting out of the inning. The score remained even until the top of the ninth, when Largusa drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Eagles the lead and Magro followed with a sac fly for his fifth RBI of the game. To end the game, senior closer Daniel Jang worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the ninth.
The Eagles improve to 13-8 in the PacWest and trail Point Loma Nazarene University for second place by only half a game. They played three more games at CBU on April 6 and 7.