Stockton, Calif. - Finding their bats once again, the Pacific baseball team dropped 12 hits and eight runs on the visiting Alabama State Hornets in an 8-2 victory on Friday, Feb. 21. The win for the Tigers was their second-straight and moved their record to 3-3 on the year while the Hornets saw their four-game winning streak come to an end as they fell to 4-2 overall.
Striking early and often, the Tigers kept a steady stream of pressure on the Hornets en route to the opening win of their four-game series with Alabama State. Pacific's bats came alive just as they did a week prior in Tempe as the Tigers grabbed 12 hits led by junior Taylor Murphy's perfect night at the plate. Continuing his stellar start to the year, Murphy went 3-for-3 at the plate with a pair of walks, one run scored, and two RBI.
It was Murphy who ignited Pacific's opening rally in the bottom of the second inning as he singled down the first base line for the first hit of the night. From there, the bottom of the order continued to push the pace as sophomore J.J. Wagner singled to right while junior DH Robby Mansfield walked to load the bases for the top of the order. With the bottom setting the table the top of the order cleaned up as junior Tyler Sullivan brought home two with a single back up the middle while freshman Vince Arobio followed with his first collegiate RBI on a single to left.
An inning later, the Tigers added to their total on the scoreboard when sophomore Gio Brusa blasted his first home run of the season down to right field to begin the fourth. The home run was the Tigers' first big fly of the season and Brusa's fifth career round-tripper.
Alabama State answered Pacific's home run with one of its own in the top of the fifth as junior Mike Hager (1-0) gave up his first run of the game on the mound. Despite the home run, Hager closed out the frame with out further issue to put himself in line for his first win of the season. The Hornets added a second unearned run in the top of the sixth to cut Pacific's lead in half at 4-2, however that would be all they would get as Pacific's bullpen shut down the rally and held the Hornets quiet for the rest of the game.
Up just 4-2 after five and a half innings, Pacific's offense answered with one in the sixth when Brusa came up with his second RBI of the night on an RBI single to the right side of the infield that plated T. Sullivan from second. Two innings later, the Tigers put the game out of reach with three runs in the eighth as they got some help from Alabama State's defense. The big hit in the inning came from Murphy once again as the junior drove in two with a single through the left side with the bases loaded.
Overall, the Tigers picked up multi-hit performances out of four different players with Murphy and T. Sullivan tallying three each while also driving in two RBI a piece. Brusa grabbed a pair of hits and two RBI while Mansfield added two on three at bats while scoring one of the eight runs on the night.
On the mound, Hager went 5.1 innings to earn the victory as he allowed all four of the Hornet hits while striking out three and giving up just one earned run. The pen was nearly perfect over the final 3.2 innings of play as they gave up just one walk and hit one batter in 14 batters.
T.J. Renda (0-2) was tagged with the loss after going 6.0 innings whie giving up 10 hits and five runs.
The two teams are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 22 for a pair of contests beginning at 1:00 pm at Klein Family Field.