It what will end up as a key matchup along the way in the California Pacific Conference race, the Benedictine University at Mesa baseball team struck first, picking up a victory to start a key three-game set against the University of Antelope Valley Pioneers, 5-3, on Friday afternoon at Gene Autry Park.
Antelope Valley struck first in the game, putting up a single run in the second inning to take a lead. The Redhawks racked up the hits in the early, but were unable to score runs, leaving plenty of runners stranded.
Finally, BenU at Mesa broke through in the fourth inning, scoring a run on a bunt from Johnny Garcia and another on an RBI groundout by Isaac Parra to take a 2-1 lead.
The Redhawks would tally three insurance runs between the sixth and the seventh innings to put some distance between them and the Pioneers, thanks to an RBI triple from Christian Camacho, a sacrifice Fly from Diego Johnson and an RBI single from Hayden Luff to make it 5-1.
The runs would help starter Jacob Gangelhoff, who pitched a complete-game gem, allowing just eight hits and three runs all while striking out five Antelope Valley batters, in earning the win.
Parra, Camacho, Andy Verke, Jr. and Andrew Apodaca all recorded three-hit games for BenU at Mesa in the victory.
The two teams are at it again on Saturday, with the Redhawks hosting a doubleheader beginning at noon at Westwood High Schoo.