Saturday, April 7, 2018

(Terri)fic Start Not Enough

Recap, photo courtesy of Biola University
Biola gets a phenomenal pitching performance from Terri Van Dagens, but gets swept.

LA MIRADA, Calif. --- Do not be deceived by the final combined scoreline of 14-1 in favor of No. 17 California Baptist. Despite suffering two tough losses to the visiting Lancers Biola was in both games until the very end and nearly managed an upset win in game one thanks to a terrific pitching performance from Terri Van Dagens.

The senior by far set a new season-best and career-best for innings pitched, going all nine in the opener and getting saddled with a tough-luck loss after CBU scored three in the top of the ninth to win the game 3-0.

Van Dagens went toe-to-toe with the reigning PacWest Conference Pitcher of the Year, Ciara Stapp, by allowing only two hits and one walk to the CBU batters through the first eight innings of her outing. She allowed a lead-off triple in the top of the ninth that ended up being the match that lit a fire under the Lancers as they went out and won the ballgame.

Van Dagens threw well over 120 pitches as she held a Lancers team that was averaging seven runs-per-game off the base paths. She set a new season-best with seven strikeouts and was inducing a bunch of weakly hit fly balls, with flyouts accounting for 14 of her 27 outs.

Unfortunately for Biola, the Eagles could not find any way to solve Stapp. Ruth Munoz had a single to leadoff the top of the first inning and Jay Perez walked in the middle of the fourth, but a pair of double plays made it so that Stapp faced the minimum of 27 batters en route to her 11th win of the year.

Biola's bats were a bit more active in the second game as the Eagles actually managed to come out and take the early lead and led 1-0 through three innings, but the CBU offense eventually found a way to time the Eagles' game two starter and ended with with an 11-1 run-rule victory to close out a sweep.

The Eagles' lone run of the ballgame came with two outs in the bottom of the third when Selina Sherlin singled up the middle to score Munoz who had reached on a single and advanced after a Jay Perez walk.

That lead evaporated in the top of the fourth inning as the Lancers got a two-out homerun to tie things up at one. The Eagles went down 1-2-3 in their half of the fourth inning and then the game turned on its head in the fifth as CBU scored three in the fifth and seven in the sixth to expand to the 11-1 lead.

Stapp entered the game in the fifth inning for CBU to try and maintain the three-run advantage for the Lancers. She hit the first batter she faced and then benefitted from yet another double play later in the inning to set BU down 1-2-3 before the Lancers went out and blew the doors off in their half of the sixth. She also struck out Biola's 3-4-5 hitters in the bottom of the sixth to bring the game to an early close.

The tough losses drop Biola to 29-11 (12-8 PacWest). Meanwhile the No. 17 Lancers keep themselves far ahead of the rest of the conference with a 24-5 (16-2 PacWest) record.

The Eagles will need to bounce back quickly with another major test coming up on the road this Saturday. They face Concordia University Irvine (21-11, 12-6 PacWest) for two out in Irvine beginning at noon.

Tonight's (last night) losses drop BU to sixth in the conference standings, and the Eagles are hoping to finish top-5 to have a chance to play for a National Christian College Athletic Association title at the end of the year.

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