Menlo College continues its baseball run in GSAC playoffs


Max Dutto homered and drove in three runs, Jason Alexander pitched a complete game and the Menlo baseball team defeated top-seeded and host Westmont, 9-3, in an elimination game of Tuesday's Golden State Athletic Conference playoffs.

The Oaks (35-21) also beat No. 2 seed Vanguard, 8-4, earlier Tuesday and are one of three teams left standing. Menlo squares off with The Master's on Wednesday morning, with the winner advancing into the championship round against No. 3 Biola, which must be beaten twice, in the afternoon.

Jason Alexander
Justin Cooney-Sylk homered twice and Lucas Erceg added a home run. Erceg, Garrett Gemgnani and Cooney-Sylk each drove in a pair of runs.

Erceg hit a pair of home runs against the Lions and has 20 on the year, breaking a tie for the tyeam lead with Gemgnani.

The Oaks, in the middle of one of the greatest seasons in school history, took two of three from The Master's during the regular season, and are 3-4 against the Eagles, though Biola has won the last three meetings.

Against Westmont, Erceg's two-run homer in the fifth snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the Oaks the lead for good. Cooney-Sylk hit a solo shot in the sixth and Dutto's three-run shot in the seventh highlighted a four-run rally that put the game on ice.

Ashkon Kuhalua went 8 2/3 innings in the victory over Vanguard. He struck out 11 but walked six. Cruz Daddario came on to record the final out.

Chris Berry drove in three runs and Reed Kienle had two hits.

Last week, the All-GSAC Team was announced and Menlo College was well-represented in its first season in the conference with three players earning a spot on the list. Senior DH Garrett Gemgnani, third baseman Lucas Erceg and starting pitcher Ashkhon Kuhaulua all cracked the list for their efforts during the 2016 regular season.

Vanguard swept the Player and Pitcher of the Year awards with Jose Rojas and Sean Isaac claiming honors. Rob Ruiz of the regular season champion Westmont Warriors was named Coach of the Year.

Gemgnani put together a remarkable senior season primarily as the teams designated hitter. Gemgnani concluded the regular season as the team leader in batting average (.326), tied for first in home runs (17) which is a new single season record at Menlo College, was first in RBIs (57), runs (50), walks (44) and slugging percentage (.669). The Culver City native was the only player on Menlo's roster to start all 53 games this season

Erceg was Menlo's second and final position player to earn All-GSAC honors. The junior third baseman put together a slew of impressive offensive numbers including: a .311 batting average, 17 home runs .623 slugging percentage 51 RBI, 41 runs, 15 doubles, 12 walks and just 16 strikeouts in 212 at bats. Erceg also served as the team's closer where he led the squad in saves with six.

Menlo's third All-GSAC winner was the ace of the pitching staff, sophomore Ashkhon Kuhaulua. The right hander was Menlo's workhorse all season long, making a team-high 14 starts amassing a 7-5 record. The Hawaii native twirled a team-leading 93.1 innings, striking out a conference-best 127 batters. Opponents hit just .184 off of Kuhaulua who led the team with a microscopic 1.74 earned run average allowing just 18 earned runs all season.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo Athletics

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Posted by Lee Ann Erceg
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 11, 2016 at 9:41 am


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