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Herter one-hitter blanks No. 4 Biola

Adam Herter threw a one-hit shutout in the second game of a February 14 doubleheader to help Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) sweep Biola University.

The 2006 Fallbrook High School graduate, who is now a junior at PLNU, had a no-hitter until Biola’s Billy Vopinek led off the top of the sixth inning with a ground-ball single.

Herter walked one batter and hit one in the seven-inning game played at Point Loma’s Carroll B. Land Stadium.

“It was one of those days where everything came together,” Herter said.

“He threw pretty well. He kind of had the benefit of a windy day to keep the ball in the yard, but he pitched pretty well,” said Point Loma coach Joe Schaefer.

Biola was ranked fourth in the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings.

“I think it’s a pretty good accomplishment,” Schaefer said. “They’re a very good offensive team.”

Herter had been named PLNU’s Pitcher of the Year for the 2008 season, in which he led the team with 55 strikeouts and seven wins while compiling a won-loss record of 7-4 with an earned run average of 4.35 in 80 2/3 innings pitched and holding opposing batters to a .282 average.

Schaefer tabbed Herter as the Opening Day starter for 2009, but Herter lasted only three innings in that January 30 game against Faulkner and did not receive a decision.

“He had a rough start that first game,” Schaefer said.

The short outing allowed Herter to be used in the bullpen February 3 during the Sea Lions’ road opener at Claremont.

Herter threw 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one hit batsman while striking out three, and was credited with the win. “He bounced back,” Schaefer said.

Herter threw 83 pitches in the seven-inning complete game against Biola. “Velocity was real good,” he said. “Curveball was real sharp.”

His fastball reached 90 mph. “It was down,” Herter said. “It was hard.”

All four of Herter’s strikeouts were on fastballs; two Biola batters went down swinging while the other two were caught looking.

“It was definitely location. The umpire that we had kind of established that he had a larger strike zone than what we had seen, and Adam took advantage of that right away,” Schaefer said.

“If they did hit it, they would hit it into the ground,” Herter said. “My defense behind me was phenomenal.”

While three of the four Biola base runners led off the Eagles’ half of the inning and the other Biola base runner reached with one out, none of those runners advanced to second base.

“The majority of the outs came from the defense behind me, who played stellar,” Herter said.

Herter’s only walk was to Hawkins Gebbers to start the second inning. Gebbers was a second-team NAIA All-American in 2008 and a pre-season All-American pick this year.

“When he fell behind in the count, he didn’t want to give him anything to hit,” Schaefer said.

The game was scoreless at the time. “It was a good guy to walk. We didn’t want him to get ahold of one,” Herter said. “That walk wasn’t really a big deal at the time.”

Herter retired the remainder of the second-inning batters on a pop-up, a flyout, and a groundout.

The Sea Lions led 1-0 when Brent Chavez was safe on a fielding error to lead off the fourth inning. Chavez was thrown out at second trying to steal.

With one out in the fifth inning Herter hit Chad Pace but then coaxed a flyout and struck out Daniel Boemer for the third out.

Point Loma then scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-0 lead.

Vopinek’s ground-ball single up the middle broke up the no-hitter six outs shy of the game’s completion. “It was a good run,” Herter said of his no-hit bid.

“That was kind of a shock,” Herter said of losing his no-hitter, “but other than that I was happy to get the shutout and the win. Biola’s a great team.”

The Sea Lions scored their final two runs in the sixth inning, and the 7-0 win gave PLNU a sweep of Biola.

“It was quite a day for us,” Herter said. “To pull away from the doubleheader with two wins, which is hard to do, was a great day for Point Loma.”

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