Pacific Beats Dons, 3-0, Behind Hummel's Gem and Gomez' Homer
Pacific's Jake Hummel and USF's Matt Hiserman battled in a pitcher's duel, but Pacific freshman Curtis Gomez ended the zeros on the scoreboard in the eighth inning with a three-run pinch-hit home run to give Pacific a 3-0 win over the Dons Sunday at Klein Family Field.
Hummel (Peoria, Ariz.) tossed his second complete game of the season, striking out a career-high 10 batters for his first shutout of the year. The senior right-handed walked just two batters, one intentionally, and scattered six hits to improve to 3-2 on the season.
San Francisco's Hiserman (2-3) was the hard-luck loser, allowing three hits with a walk and six strikeouts while pitching into the eighth.
Hiserman retired the first two batters of the eighth, but Pacific LF Daniel Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) beat out a chopper in the hole at shortstop, and after Johnston stole second base, Hiserman intentionally walked Pacific pinch hitter Brent McMinn (Houston, Texas). With a left-hand pinch-hitter announced, USF went to the bullpen, bringing in LHP Jordan Remer. Pacific head coach Ed Sprague countered with the righty-hitting Gomez (Watsonville, Calif.) to pinch hit.
On an 0-1 count, Gomez turned on the offering from Remer and his shot to left cleared the wall for a three-run home run, the first of the freshman's collegiate career.
"It was awesome to get the 'W' for Hummel," Gomez said, turning the attention to his starting pitcher. "Coach gave me the pinch-hit signal and I dug in with the mentality of 'this guy isn't going to beat me.' I'm going to be aggressive early and good things happened. I was looking to be simple: We needed one run. The big hit came, but I was just trying to stay relaxed and stay within myself."
"The one thing we've been missing is that big hit in a crucial situation," Sprague said. "He came through and got it done for us today. It was obviously a big lift for our club."
Hummel returned to the hill for the ninth, and after retiring the first batter, USF's Nick Balog singled to center. The next batter, Jared Denham chopped a grounder to short, where junior Garrett Borba (Merced, Calif.) came up firing, but Denham was ruled safe at first. Hummel coaxed a groundball to Borba to the next batter, Travis Higgs, but after Borba forced out Denham at second, Higgs beat the throw to first. With runners on the corners, Hummel punched out Aritz Garcia to end the ball game on a called strike three.
Hummel's 10 strikeouts topped his previous career high of eight against UC Santa Barbara last season on May 30.
"Jake did a fantastic job. You could see from the first inning on, he had command of all four of his pitches," Sprague said. "He was outstanding. He threw a great competitive effort out there for us and matched them zero for zero. We didn't do a very good job offensively, their guy did a nice job of changing speeds, but Jake kept us in the ball game and put us in the situation where we could get a big hit."
"In the eighth, Hummel pitched out of a bases loaded jam, getting Jason Mahood to pop out behind first base to Tigers' 2B Dustin Torchio (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Stephen Yarrow to fly out to right field to retire the side.
"No doubt I was going to leave him out there," Sprague commented. "I thought his stuff was still good. He got Mahood to pop up and that was a big pitch."
"Everything worked today. It just felt like everything was breaking really well. I had to keep the ball down and try to force contact and make them ground it one of our guys," Hummel said before turning the attention to Gomez. "That was awesome. I was going crazy. Especially with the way the day had been going, to see that was just awesome."
Pacific senior DH Matt Carvutto (Poway, Calif.) singled in the first to extend his hit streak to 10 games, while Johnston's single in the eighth ran his hit streak to nine-straight games.
USF falls to 11-13 on the year, while Pacific improves to 6-14. Hummel has picked up three of the Tigers' six victories this season.
Pacific is back in action on Tuesday at Sacramento State in a 2 p.m. matinee start.