Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
ANTHEM, Ariz. – The Whittier College baseball team grabbed their first win of 2013, while helping Head Coach Mike Rizzo obtain his 250th victory at Whittier College as they cruised past the Tornadoes of Concordia (TX) Saturday afternoon 9-5.
What a difference a day makes. After dropping both games on day one of the Arizona Desert Classic, the Poets bounced back on Day 2 to upend the Tornadoes of Concordia (TX) 9-5. Concordia jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, as Poet starter Thomas Hemington made his Whittier debut. After a quiet 1st, the Poets' bats came alive in the bottom of the 2nd. With one out, freshman first baseman Max Bradshaw struck out swinging but reached first on a dropped third strike. Senior right fielder Alex Mitchell came up next, and after laying down more than 30 bunt singles last season he got his first of the 2013 campaign with a perfect drag bunt down the third base line. Junior center fielder Corey Jensen then slapped a base hit to right to load the bases, and after another Poet K sophomore catcher Stephen Zavala stepped to the dish. Zavala worked a walk to force in a run to tie the game, and junior third baseman Julian Barzilli followed knocking in a bases-clearing double to stake the Poets to a three-run lead.
Hemington settled down after the first, limiting the Tornados to 3 hits through 5 innings. When Whittier came to bat in the bottom of the 5th, the score was 4-2. Sophomore designated hitter Cody Martinez laced a one out double off the wall in right. After an error by the Concordia shortstop on a ball off the bat of senior shortstop Josh Genzuk, Bradshaw connected on a 2-1 fastball for a RBI double, his first collegiate hit. Mitchell continued the rally for the Poets, drilling a triple into the gap in left-center that brought in Genzuk and Bradshaw. A two out single by sophomore second baseman Christian Loera scored Mitchell, and the Poets led 8-2 after five innings of play.
In the 6th, Hemington allowed a lead-off double and was replaced by freshman Nick Garcia, who also made his Poet debut. After escaping the inning by allowing only one run, Garcia scattered four Concordia hits over four innings of work. The Poets got an insurance run in the eighth, and Garcia took the mound in the top of the 9th to try and secure a Whittier win. After giving up a home run to the leadoff hitter, two Poet errors put two men on with nobody out. Unfazed, Garcia proceeded to strike out the next three batters en route to Whittier's first win of the season.
On offense Whittier was led by Mitchell who finished 3-3 with two runs scored and two RBI's, while Jensen finished 2-4 with a run scored. Hemington earned his first collegiate win by going 5.0 innings giving up three runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out four.
The Poets play their final game of the Arizona Desert Classic today, February 10 at 10:00am MST against Pacific Lutheran. The game will be broadcast LIVE on the Whittier College Sports Network.