The base on balls bit University of Jamestown baseball Monday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Arizona Christian University used three free passes to load the bases in the seventh inning of a tie game against UJ reliever Austin Pesicka and the Jimmies in their NAIA Opening Round tournament game held at Russ Carr Field. A fielder's choice hit into by the Firestorm's Jake Sim with one out scored the game-winning run from third and Arizona Christian topped Jamestown 5-4.
The Jimmies (35-17) are still alive in the double-elimination tournament. Jamestown will play host Westmont College (Calif.) tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.
"We played very well defensively," said University of Jamestown head coach Tom Hager. "We made some big pitches to induce some double plays, but we didn't swing the bats well enough and we walked too many guys today.
"There's times when you can win ball games and get away with one of those, but when you're putting free passes on the board and you're not getting hits when you need to it's hard to win ball games."
Jamestown put seven Firestorm runners on via walk, including three given up by UJ starter Kensaku Akiya. Akiya (7-0, 3.64 ERA) went 5 1/3 innings, after the Firestorm got to the junior right-hander for three runs on three hits and an intentional walk in the first inning.
The Jimmies broke the seal in the first, taking a 1-0 lead behind a Drake Pilat single that scored Jaden Yackley from third. Yackley (2-for-3, 2B) began the game with a base hit to right-center off Arizona Christian starter Trevor McGee. McGee wound up being charged with all four Jimmie runs, as the orange and black also put up single runs in the second, fifth and sixth.
UJ senior catcher Zach Zurbrugg batted 3-for-4, which included an RBI single in the sixth that tied the game at 4-4 after UJ had trailed since inning No. 1.
"Our guys found ways to manufacture some runs early in the game, but we just didn't swing it well enough today and we need to come back and be better tomorrow," Hager said.
Pesicka (4-2, 2.30 ERA) helped Akiya and the Jimmies out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth, getting the Firestorm's Matt Asta to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame. But the UJ junior from West Linn, Ore., walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh, which eventually set up the game-winning score. Sim and Eric Schwalbe both batted 1-for-4 with two RBIs for the Firestorm.
Akiya and Pesicka have each had a solid postseason. The two teamed up to shutout Morningside College 8-0 on 144 pitches to open the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament on May 2 in Jamestown. Pesicka, who shouldered Monday's loss, has a team-best .183 batting average against in over 27 innings of play.
"They both battled. It had nothing to do with giving 110 percent," Hager said. "They just didn't have their best stuff, and give Arizona Christian credit. They got some key hits when they needed to, especially early in the game."
Jamestown rallied to win three games after picking up its first loss at last year's NAIA Opening Round in Oklahoma City, before falling to host Oklahoma City University in a winner-take-all bracket championship game. The Jimmies will need to win out starting tomorrow to advance to the NAIA World Series beginning May 24 in Lewistown, Idaho.
The 22nd-ranked Westmont Warriors (34-15) were upset 9-8 by Antelope Valley University (Calif.) on Monday.
"We know our backs are against the wall, we just need to go play our style of baseball," Hager said. "We need to play with a sense of urgency and a sense of passion, and if we do that we'll be all right."
(25) Arizona Christian University 5, University of Jamestown 4
UJ 110 011 000 -- 4 8 1
ACU 300 100 100 -- 4 10 1
Kensaku Akiya, Andrew Reed (6) Austin Pesicka (7), Cade Torgerson (8) and Zach Zurbrugg. Trevor McGee, Cam Sharp (7), River Carbone (9) and Matt Asta. W--Sharp. L--Pesicka. S--Carone.
Highlights: UJ, Akiya 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO; Pesicka 1.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO; Jaden Yackley 2-3, 2B, BB, RBI, R; Drake Pilat 1-4, RBI; Zach Zurbrugg 3-4, RBI; Grant Okawa 1-3, R. AC, McGee 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO; Sharp 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO; Carbone 1 IP, 0 H, ) R, 1 BB, 2 SO; Brent Smith 2-4, BB, 2 R; Jake Sim 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; R; Eric Schwalbe 1-4, 2 RBI; Christian Maggi 2-3, RBI; Asta 2-4.
Records: Arizona Christian 39-19. Jamestown 35-17.
NAIA Opening Round
Santa Barbara (Calif.) Bracket
Hosted by Westmont College at Russ Carr Field
(Central times listed)
Game 1: (4) Arizona Christian 5, (5) Jamestown 4
Game 2: (3) Antelope Valley, Calif. 9, (2) Westmont, Calif. 8.
Game 3: (1) Science & Arts, Okla. (43-10) vs. Arizona Christian (39-19), 6 p.m.
Game 4: Jamestown (35-17) vs. Westmont (34-15), 11 a.m.
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Antelope Valley (35-17-1), 2:30 p.m.
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser, 6 p.m.
Game 7: Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 4:30 p.m.
Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 2 p.m., if necessary.