SAN DIEGO – Keith Kozak outdueled Mitch Bluman as Team San Diego (22-14, 7-5) came away with game one of the doubleheader, 6-4, at Morley Field on Monday.
Kozak (2-2) got the win despite dancing in and out of danger during his six innings. The right-hander walked six batters but only surrendered two runs on four hits.
Bluman (San Diego State) scattered three runs on nine hits in his start, his first loss of the summer.
Team San Diego drew first blood with a two-out, two-RBI single off the bat of Tim Leary in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
They would strike again in the fifth with an RBI double to score Collin Nyenhuis, who doubled off the wall one batter prior.
The POWER (29-7, 9-4) would finally break through in the sixth. After a leadoff walk to cleanup hitter Ino Patron (Long Beach State), Nate Pollock (Western Illinois) singled to put two runners on with nobody out. Brandon Gomez (Florida International) pinch hit for Zach Sterry (Oakland) and laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up 90 feet. Hunter Bening (Northwest Florida State) grounded out to bring home Patron and a wild pitch followed to bring home Pollock as the POWER cut the deficit to 3-2.
Team SD recaptured the momentum in the bottom half, scoring two runs on back-to-back RBI singles by Jacob Carerra and Raymond Jones.
Palm Springs answered again in the top of the seventh, sending eight men to the plate to get back within one run. But Team San Diego got an insurance run in the home half cashing in a leadoff triple by Leary on a sacrifice fly.
Terrel Dorsey (1) pitched the final three innings for Team SD to earn the save.
Brooks Kriske (USC) pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 as the POWER (30-7, 10-4) beat Team San Diego, 1-0, in game two of the twin billing in San Diego.
Kriske had a no-hitter through his first three innings before leadoff hitter Gabe Louthan hit a bloop single to right in the fourth. He faced only three more batters than the minimum.
“The first game we were kind of dead, they scored two early runs and put us back on our heels,” said Kriske. “In game two, I was able to get ahead of hitters, stay ahead, make my pitches and it worked out.”
The lone run of the game came off the bat of Hunter Bening (Northwest Florida State) as he sent a Kyle Peeler fast ball over the left field wall to give the POWER an early 1-0 lead.
Morgan Earman (Arizona) finished up for Kriske tossing two scoreless innings to earn his third save, but it wasn’t without a bit of drama.
Earman breezed through the eighth inning striking out two of the three batters he faced. But the seventh started with a bunt single by Louthan, who was sacrificed over to second by pinch hitter Danny Donaghue. Earman then got Collin Nyenhuis to ground out to second before striking out Manny Cardeiro to earn his third save.
Peeler (3-3) was the tough luck loser for Team SD, turning in a complete-game, one-run performance in a losing effort.
These two teams wrap up their season series on Tuesday at Palm Springs Stadium. First pitch at 7:05pm.