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Lions let one get away

Biola scores two in the eighth and two in the ninth to deny Vanguard sole possession of third place.

April 17, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

LA MIRADA — When asked if Wednesday's come-from-ahead Golden State Athletic Conference loss at Biola may haunt him for a while, Vanguard University baseball coach Rob Pegg said he didn't believe in ghosts.

But the 6-5 setback to the sixth-place Eagles helped make a 5-2 lead and a chance to gain sole possession of third place with just five regular-season conference games remaining, vanish like an apparition in a ninth inning that proved to be frightfully unfortunate for the visitors.

Biola (13-34, 9-22 in conference), which committed five errors, hit into one triple play, two double plays, had one runner thrown out at the plate and another picked off first, scored two in the eighth and two more in the ninth to earn the walk-off triumph.

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No. 24-ranked Vanguard (27-18, 18-13) could have risen from a third-place tie to sole possession of third in the GSAC with a win, an outcome that appeared likely most of the game. Instead, the Lions are tied for third with Concordia, which lost to first-place San Diego Christian on Wednesday, and Westmont, which defeated last-place Arizona Christian on Wednesday to rise from fifth place.

Vanguard, which has lost five of its last six games, returns to Biola today for a doubleheader that begins at noon. At stake, along with a season-closing three-game home series with Concordia on April 25-26, is one of four berths into the GSAC postseason tournament.

The Lions never trailed until the game-winning hit, a line-drive single off the bat of Andres Rodriguez that sparked a celebration from the Eagles.

Vanguard led, 1-0, after the first inning and doubled that lead with a run in the fifth, when John Schwer singled to drive in Brandon Sandoval with two outs.

After Biola scored single runs in the fifth and sixth to pull even, the visitors cashed in the Eagles' final error to take a 3-2 advantage. In the eighth inning, senior catcher John Collins launched a two-run home run to left field, his second of the season, to put the Lions up, 5-2.

Lions' starting pitcher Scott Torrey worked into the sixth and left after making an error on a safety squeeze bunt that knotted the score, 2-2.

Another error by a pitcher, this time an errant pickoff throw to first base by junior reliever Jordan Moak in the ninth, helped set the stage for the winning rally.

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