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Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Sunbirds sweep Gators in doubleheader

Game 1 - FPU 10, San Francisco State 9 (Box score)

Game 2 - FPU 11, San Francisco State 3 (Box score)

Fresno - The Fresno Pacific University Sunbirds played long-ball today at Reedley College's Tiger Field.

Powered by five home runs, including a pair by Justin Rhoades, the Sunbirds swept a doubleheader from the visiting San Francisco State Gators by scores of 10-9 and 11-3.

Game 1
In the first game, a nine-inning affair, the Sunbirds got into a hole early. The Gators chased starter Josh Franco after two-plus innings during which he yielded five runs.

FPU trailed 9-5 heading into the bottom of the eighth. Elliot Salcedo flied out to center field and Mike Pierce grounded to short, but back -to-back stand-up doubles by Kyle Newton and Brett Howard made it 9-6. Eric Lingren drew a walk and a clutch two-out triple to the gap in left center by Adam Alva capped a 3-run inning and draw the Sunbirds to within a run.

Ryan Benson set down the Gators in order in the top half of the ninth.

Rhoades opened the bottom half of the inning by grounding out to third. Designated hitter Nelson Caraballo, batting second, hit a stand-up double down the third base line. Salcedo then struck out on three pitches, leaving it up to Pierce. Pierce got all of a 2-1 pitch from right-hander Brian Mitchell, driving the ball over the right field wall for a dramatic walk-off home run.

Benson was credited with the win. Mitchell was tagged with the loss.

Game 2
The Sunbirds benefited from Rhoades' bat in the second game.

Rhoades erased a 1-0 Gators lead with a two-run shot in the second inning, then broke the game open in the fourth with a grand slam.

The Sunbirds loaded the bases in the fourth on a single by Newton and back-to-back walks to Andy Locke and Lingren. Alva delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to score Newton from third. Justin Crisp drew a walk and Rhoades cleared the bases, and the left field wall, with his third home run of the season.

That made it 8-2 Sunbirds.

The Gators scratched out a run in the top of the fifth, but that was it. A three-run shot over the left field wall by Casey Keating in the bottom of the sixth was icing on the cake.

Zach Darrah picked up the win in relief of starter Tom Hosack.

"I am real pleased," said FPU coach Oscar Hirschkorn. "We were solid today. We hit the ball well in both games. We got behind in the first one but chipped away. Pierce had a great at-bat to end it for us. That was special."

The Sunbirds are scheduled to open Golden State Athletic Conference play with a doubleheader against Concordia University of Irvine this Saturday, February 11. The first pitch at Clovis East High School will be thrown at 11:00 a.m.

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Fresno Pacific University offers undergraduate and graduate programs that stress solid academic preparation and a strong ethical foundation. Each year more than 2,000 traditional and adult students attend classes on the 42-acre main campus in southeast Fresno or centers in Visalia and Bakersfield. The university also reaches 12,000 students across the nation and around the world through professional development studies programs. The only four-year Christian university in the Central Valley, FPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and ranked in the top quarter among Western universities master's category by U.S. News & World Report.

2006 Season at a glance...
Opponent
Score
Record
PATTEN
PATTEN
PATTEN
@ San Francisco State
SAN FRANCISCO ST
SAN FRANCISCO ST
CONCORDIA *
CONCORDIA *
@ Azusa Pacific * L 5-8
@ Azusa Pacific * L 8-14
@ California Baptist *
@ California Baptist *
CSU MONT. BAY L 2-6
@ Pt Loma Nazarene
@ Pt Loma Nazarene
@ The Master's *
@ The Master's *
7-7
@ Vanguard *
@ CSU Monterey Bay
BIOLA *
BIOLA *
BETHANY
BETHANY
@ Westmont * L 3-8
@ Westmont *
@ San Jose State
APU * (R) W 8-6
APU * (R) W 7-6
@ Concordia * L 6-9
@ Concordia * W 5-3
@ Menlo Rain Out
@ Menlo Rain Out
@ Menlo Rain Out
CAL BAPTIST * (C) L 3-9
CAL BAPTIST * (C) L 0-4
@ Vanguard * L 2-3
@ Vanguard * W 12-3
PT LOMA NAZ * (C)
PT LOMA NAZ * (C)
@ The Master's *
THE MASTER'S *
THE MASTER'S *
@ CSU Chico
@ CSU Chico
@ CSU Los Angeles
@ CSU Los Angeles L 0-4
VANGUARD * (C) W 8-5
VANGUARD * (C) L 2-4
WESTMONT * (C) W 12-5
WESTMONT * (C)
@ Biola * L 5-9
@ Biola * L 4-5
BIOLA * L 2-7 17-26, 12-19
BIOLA * W 4-3 18-26, 13-19
* GSAC contest
C = Clovis East High School
R = Reedley College