LA MIRADA, Calif .- With the GSAC regular season championship on the line, the Vanguard University Lions (30-20, 18-10) traveled to enemy territory to take on the Biola University Eagles (33-15, 18-10). With both teams occupying first and second place respectively, this was much more than the typically heated rivalry match. Whoever comes out on top of the three game series will be taking the title home, and Biola drew first blood over nine innings with a 13-12 victory.
The first place Lions got the show on the road early, with a run in the top of the first inning. Trai Patrick (SR/Everett, WA) dealt the damage, but the Eagles immediately responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. The Pride were merely warming up though, before taking the game by the scruff of the neck with four runs in the top of the second. Grady Conner (FR/Costa Mesa, CA), Tanner Perry (JR/El Cajon, CA), Brandon Sandoval (SR/Fallbrook, CA), and Josh Weeks (FR/Murrieta, CA) all scored, with Sandoval hitting a homer to left center field. Once again, the Eagles wasted no time getting back in the game, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning.
The game slowed down in the third inning, with neither side changing the score line, but it quickly got back on track in the fourth inning. The Blue and Gold matched the Eagles with three runs in the the top of the fourth, while Biola failed to score for the second inning running. Elias-Calles smacked the second ball out of the park to left center field, much like Sandoval before him. The Lions led by four going into the fifth inning, but the Eagles soon began to change the tide for the remainder of the contest. Biola began their comeback with three runs to Vanguard's two in the fifth inning, before scoring another three to Vanguard's one in the seventh inning.
Although the seventh inning saw Grady Conner score the Pride's third homer of the game, it wasn't enough to stifle Biola's comeback. This was proven when the Eagles scored a further three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, to close the contest. Nevertheless, Michael Kashou (FR/Anaheim, CA) scored the final run of the game in the top of the ninth, to make the following two fixtures all the more enticing. Five pitchers took the mound for the Pride, with Chris Lumanlan (SR/Irvine, CA) starting and pitching the first five innings. Christian Sheehan (SR/Redondo Beach, CA), Josh Bailly (JR/Union City. CA), Tyler Steele (SO/Kingsburg, CA), and Jake Mellenthin (SR/New Plymouth, ID) all pitched the final 2.3 innings.
Next Game: Saturday, April 29th at Biola University at 11:30 a.m.