Cougars Weather Red Storm

Photo by Duane Barker

Dusty Sanderson drives in the game winners!

By Tim Peterson
April 3, 2013 • 431 views

Azusa

Azusa Pacific jumped out to a big lead and then held on to survive a furious rally to beat Dixie State 9-8 Saturday in the first game of a double header.

The Cougars were cruising 9-1 heading into the eighth inning behind the right arm of Zach Hedges. Garrett Nash walked, Colton Yack walked and Jordan Hanley doubled in a run to cut the APU advantage to 9-2. But Hedges was relieved and the wheels almost came completely off.

Hedges threw a strong seven plus innings for the Cougars. The sophomore from Damien High School struck out 11, including the side in the seventh, walked three and allowed five hits. Dixie State picked up a run in the first on two hits but Hedges held the Red Storm to just one hit through the six innings before Dixie opened the eighth with a walk and two hits.

After Hedges left, Kevin Kline hit the first pitch that Hunter Brown threw to San Bernardino for a three run shot. A hit batter, and three straight hits cut the lead 9-7 and spelled the end of Brown as Joel Belk came on. Yack singled to score another on his second at bat of the inning and Nash who had reached on an error on his second at bat was caught between second and third for the second out. Belk then got the last two outs to end  the inning with Azusa clinging to a 9-8 lead.

Belk then got the Red Storm in order in the ninth to finish it.

The Cougars got three runs in the second to take a 3-1 lead and never relinquished it. Joe Huthsing doubled home two and Tyler Putjenter had a run scoring single in the inning. They added a run in the fourth on a base hit by Richie Brown and a double by Putjenter.

A base knock by Dominic Biagini and consecutive singles by Matt Kimmel, Brown, Ryan Henley and Huthsing led to two more Cougar runs in the fifth. In the seventh, APU broke it wide open with three more on doubles by Kimmel and Brown, a walk to Huthsing and a two run single by Dusty Sanderson. Sanderson’s base hit right back up the middle, which provided the 9-1 margin, proved to be the difference when the Cougs won by a single run.

Azusa Pacific had 15 hits in all with Brown leading the way going four for four with three runs scored. Kimmel, Huthsing and Putjenter all had two hits apiece.

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