Biola splits doubleheader in late-inning win

Connor Kostecka’s walk-off double gives the Eagles the win over Point Loma.

Stephanie Guevara, Freelancer

After dropping game one in the ninth inning 11-6, Biola baseball evened the series against Point Loma Nazarene University with a walk-off double 5-4 win yesterday at Eagles Diamond. 

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Larson Kindreich pitched six innings and struck out three batters in the first game. However, sophomore left-handed relief pitcher Connor Butler took the loss. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Brayden Englert had a solid five innings in the second game, striking out five and allowing four hits. Freshman relief pitcher Gilbert Lopez collected the win.  

Junior outfielder RobertAnthony Cruz had one at-bat in the doubleheader and was intentionally walked eight times. Cruz has a batting average of .480, has seven home runs and 24 hits this season. Senior third baseman Jacob Portaro hit a solo home run in game one, which woke the offense. Portaro ended the day with two hits and one RBI. Senior center fielder Johnny Sage drove in a couple of runs in the doubleheader. Sage ended the day with four hits and two RBIs. Junior shortstop Connor Kostecka ended the doubleheader with a walk-off double in his only hit of the series. 

NINTH-INNING LOSS

The Eagles had a rough start, allowing a solo home run in the first inning. Kindreich and Biola’s defense struggled and gave PLNU a 3-0 lead. In two innings, Biola had two errors and loaded the bases. Sage earned the Eagles’ first hit of the day in the third inning to slowly awaken the offense. Cruz also saw his only at-bat of the day in the third inning, where he grounded out.  Kindreich’s performance continued shaky, hitting a batter and giving up an RBI single to increase PLNU’s score 4-0. However, the Eagles responded back with a solo home run in the fourth inning by Portaro. 

Biola collected more runs through the bats of Sage and junior catcher Ben Smith to shorten the distance at 4-3.  Biola continued the momentum with a seventh-inning rally. Sage began the inning with a single. Portaro was hit by a pitch and junior first baseman Jackson Collins took advantage by hitting a double to deep right field, driving in two runners. The Eagles were now up 5-4. Junior designated hitter Ryan Gallegos hit a sacrifice fly that drove Portaro to score. Biola went up 6-4. 

However, the Eagles could not secure the win and gave up five runs in the ninth inning. Biola lost game one, 11-6. 

WALK-OFF WIN

PLNU decided to take no chances with Cruz and walked him throughout the game. Biola gave up two runs in the second inning where Englert had a wild pitch and hit a batter. However, the Eagles responded quickly and loaded the bases. Sage collected an RBI through a sacrifice fly and also Portaro through a single to shortstop. The score was even at 2-2. Although Cruz did not bat, he helped the offense by playing small ball, advancing to scoring position twice. 

The Eagles took advantage of PLNU’s pitching change and loaded the bases. Collins got a hit and reached second base by a defensive error, driving in Sage and Cruz to score. Biola was once again in the lead, until they gave it up in the top of the last inning. With two out and two runners in scoring position, PLNU freshman second baseman Otto Kemp hit a two-RBI single to tie the game.

Biola was forced to play the bottom of the seventh inning to get the win. Biola sophomore second baseman Tyler White hit a leadoff single to shortstop in search of the win. In his first pitch of the inning, Kostecka hit a walk-off double to give the Eagles the win. 

Biola now stands with an overall record of 6-13 and 6-10 in the PacWest Conference. The Eagles’ next doubleheader is today at noon and 3 p.m. at Carroll B. Land Stadium in San Diego, Calif. where they will once again face PLNU. 

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