The Azusa Pacific baseball team beat Concordia Tuesday night 6-0 behind a dominant pitching performance by sophomore pitcher Josh Staumont.
Staumont was able to keep the Concordia hitters off balance all night with a steady mixture of breaking balls and off-speed pitches to go along with his fastballs, which top 90 miles per hour.
“I thought when he really started to get in a groove was when he was getting his breaking ball over the plate. It was pretty tough on their hitters to defend his fastball and face his breaking ball,” head coach Paul Svagdis said.
Staumont struck out 15 batters in 7.1 innings, only allowing two hits. From the fourth inning to the sixth, he was able to strike out nine of the 12 batters he faced.
Concordia’s first hit didn’t come until junior utility player Dillon Bryant’s soft liner to center field for a single. Following a walk and a wild pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs, Staumont quickly shut the door on any hopes of an Eagle rally by striking out the next three batters.
“His best inning was when he got first and second and struck out three straight. It was a big inning, and a turning point for us,” Svagdis said.
Staumont was able to pitch with a lead for the majority of the game after the Cougars jumped on top early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Junior center fielder Joseph Daris scored the first run of the game on an RBI single to right by sophomore third baseman Daniel Martin. Junior first baseman Jordan Brower followed and launched a home run to right center, putting the Cougars up 3-0.
The Cougars added to their lead in the bottom of the third on a two-RBI double deep off the wall in left center by junior second baseman Blake James.
Concordia was not able to get anything going until a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the top of the eighth. Staumont exited the game after he gave up a walk, giving way to sophomore reliever Mitch Dergazarian, who gave up a walk and a single to load the bases. Junior pitcher Luis Martinez then entered the game, facing one batter and getting an inning-ending double play.
“I was real proud of the way Martinez pitched. He got the double play to get out of the jam in a really crucial spot for us, and then he struck the side out to close them out. It was a really nice job from the pitching staff,” Svagdis said.
The Cougars were able to add one more insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth before Martinez struck out the side in the top of the ninth to register his first save of the year.
Azusa Pacific snapped a four-game losing streak to Concordia with Tuesday night’s victory and improved to 3-0 at home this season. The Cougars will return to action Monday, Feb. 24 against Biola before opening the Pacific West Conference slate against Academy of Art with a four-game home series Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and March 1.