USAFA — The Falcons clubbed 20 hits, with all nine players recording at least one knock, as Air Force took control early in its defeat of California Baptist 11-5.
Blake Covin led all players with four hits in five plate appearances, including two RBI and a stolen base. Braydon Altorfer and Trayden Tamiya both had three hits, with Altorfer driving in two runs. Sam Kulasingam drove in a team-high 3 RBI after a 2-4 day, as the sophomore also walked twice.
Jay Thomason may not have left the yard, but he was still a provider of damage. The Mountain West leader in home runs concluded the day 2-4 with 2 RBI, including a run-scoring triple in the 4th.
Gabriel Garcia's lone hit, a 4th inning single, extended his hitting streak to 10-consecutive games. Garcia's current hit streak is the longest by a Falcon this season.
Paul Skenes was brilliant for Air Force, allowing just one-run over 5.1 IP, picking up his fourth win of the season in the process. Skenes struck out six of the first nine batters he faced, allowing just two Lancers hits. He eventually finished with nine strikeouts.
In the top of the 6th, Skenes was struck in the face by a line drive, with the play resulting in a 1-3 putout after the ball ricocheted to Kulasingam at first base. He was taken out of the game as a precaution. Skenes will be re-evaluated in the morning, though is expected to be back in the Falcons lineup for the remainder of the series.
Two big early innings were key for Air Force, as the Falcons had grown an eight-run lead over the first five innings.
Run-scoring singles from Altorfer, Aerik Joe, and Covin in the 2nd created an initial 3-0 lead. The Lancers manufactured a run in the 4th, though Air Force was just getting started.
After Tamiya and Chase Spencer led off the 4th with singles, Covin lifted a double off of the right field wall, scoring Tamiya. Now 4-1, Kulasingam poked a single up the middle to plate both Spencer and Covin to create a 6-1 lead. Thomason closed the inning with two-out RBI triple to extend the Air Force lead to 7-1.
In the 5th, a Covin RBI single and a Kulasingam RBI double brought the lead to 9-1.
The Lancers countered with a two-run double in the 7th, but the Falcons loaded the bases in their half of the inning, scoring two runs after a bases-loaded walk and hit-by-pitch. CBU eventually added a run in the 8th, though Duke Benge shut things down in the final inning, picking up a pair of strikeouts and a pop up to end the ballgame.
Game Two between Air Force and California Baptist will take place Saturday, April 9, with first-pitch scheduled for 12 pm MT.
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