Tigers sweep Chicago State with 9-3 win

Photo by Shumesa Mohsin
Photo by Shumesa Mohsin

Pacific baseball (3-0) picked up a sweep on opening weekend with a win over Chicago State (0-3), 9-3 at Klein Family Field on Sunday behind strong pitching and strong offensive performances. It is the Tigers' first 3-0 start to a season since 1994.

Pacific's offense put together another solid outing today to help get the win. The Tigers recorded 15 hits and scored nine runs in the game. Redshirt senior Nate Verlin led the Tigers on the offensive end with three RBIs while junior Grant Mona went 3-4 with two RBIs and a walk. Juniors James Free and Carter Hayes had two RBIs as well. While the offense got it done at the plate, Pacific's pitching got it done on the mound. Junior left-handed pitcher Tommy Costello tossed a scoreless five innings in his first career win allowing only four hits while striking out six and walking one.

Costello got going early when he struck out Chicago State's leadoff batter in the first and then sat down the next two. In the second, he allowed back-to-back singles to work himself into a no-out jam, but helped himself out by picking off the runner at second and then striking out two more Cougars to keep the game scoreless.

In the bottom of the third, senior infielder Kevin Sandri got his team going with a leadoff triple. Two batters later, Verlin singled to score Sandri and Free, who walked in the at-bat prior, to make it a 2-0 game. Later in the inning, Mona singled to center to plate Sandri and make it 3-0. 

In the top of the fourth, Costello got into a tight situation again, but worked out of it, this time with a boost from his defense. With one out and runners on first and second, Mona ranged to his right at first base and made a nice snag to get the first out at second. Sandri looked to first, but caught the runner from second rounding third and gunned it to the plate to turn a rare 3-6-2 double play to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fourth, Sandri started the Tigers off with a triple again and would come around to score when Free singled in the next at-bat to make it 4-0. In the inning's third at-bat, Verlin tripled to right to score Free and make it 5-0. The triple was Pacific's third of the game. Sophomore infielder Wyatt Hoffman hit a two-out single over the shortstops head to score Verlin and a couple of batters later, Mona singled to center to score Hoffman to make it 7-0 through four innings. 

In the fifth inning, the Tigers plated a runner in their third-straight inning to make it an 8-0 lead when Verlin singled and an error by the Chicago State second baseman allowed senior Tyler Ryan to come in and score.

Freshman Dylan Pottgieser made his collegiate debut in the sixth inning when he took over for Costello to end his day. The Tigers used five different pitchers to end the game in freshman Elijah Birdsong, redshirt sophomore Nick Swanson, junior Josh Winkler and freshman David Rajeski. All five made their debuts for the Tigers and combined to strike out three and allow four hits and two runs to take the Tigers home to the win.

As a team, Pacific hit .302 on opening weekend and scored 20 runs to get the season going while its pitching staff put together a combined ERA of 2.00 while allowing just six runs on the weekend. Individually, five Tigers with at least five at-bats are hitting better than .300 to start the season.

Pacific will look to make it four-straight wins against San Jose State on Tuesday in a 5:30 game on the road.