The baseball team saw their season come to a close on April 25 against William Jessup University. Despite having a better season record and win percentage compared to the previous season, the team fell short of their goal to have a run in the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship tournament. The Eagles finished out their season with a 22-31 overall record and 16-26 in GSAC.
Not unlike last season, the Eagles experienced more rough patches in their season than win streaks. Biola managed only one series sweeps in their season, which is still an improvement from the previous year when the Eagles went an entire season without sweeping a team. This season the Eagles’ longest win streak was four games, and the largest losing streak was six. The Eagles also only managed two shutout games in the season.
Home games were hard for the Eagles, ending the season 13-15 at home, but traveling was not any easier as Biola finished with an away record of 9-16.
The Eagles are losing five standout seniors. Andy Smith was also a powerhouse hitter for the Eagles, he and infielder Tanner Swire led the team with 40 runs. Smith and pitcher Rob Groschell each stole 15 bases during the course of the season. Biola’s second senior pitcher, Garrett Pitcha had 48 total strikeouts for this season and 98 for his entire career at Biola.
Outfielder Paul Slater came back this year after suffering an injury last early season. This season Slater had 27 runs and 16 RBI’s with a fielding percentage of .991.
Despite losing the valuable seniors, the Eagles have a relatively young roster growing in their skills, especially with their pitching. Freshman Micah Beyer struck out 60 batters throughout the season. Sophomore Jimmy Gallarda had an ERA 3.96 with a .600 win-loss percentage.
GOAL SLIPPING AWAY
It had been the Eagles’ goal early in the season to make it to the GSAC championship tournament. The Eagles saw that goal slowly slipping away in the middle of conference play. After playing each conference opponent once, Biola needed to win each series in order to secure their spot in the tournament. Despite their best efforts, Biola remained fifth in GSAC, one spot away from the tournament.
Head coach Jay Sullenger will be in his third season in 2016, with the majority of the team being built from his own recruiting. The team has already shown improvement from Sullenger’s first season at Biola, with a 15-39 overall record and a 11-25 conference record. However, the Eagles still have a long way to go in the offseason in order to make the improvements necessary to make it to the conference championship tournament in 2016.