by Chris Piantino
Staying strong in conference play this year, The University of La Verne’s Baseball Team beat up on the Sagehens from Pomona-Pitzer last week to move its SCIAC record to 6-0.
In the first game of a three-game series, the Leos were not quite ready as the Sagehens jumped on starting pitcher Matt Solters for three runs, courtesy of a three-run homer. Then Solters seemed to settle down and retired eight out of the next 11 batters.
ULV fought back with one run in the top of the second as Ray Cherney hit the first of his two home runs of the day. Then the Leos struck for five runs the very next inning.
Eric Smith led off with a single and stole second. Ron Hubel then walked to put runners on first and second. This brought Jon Davenport to the plate and he doubled to get two runs batted in (RBI). Cherney came to bat and hit an RBI double to score Davenport. Catcher Ben Cordova then singled, putting runners on the corners. Ariel Martin appeared to have an RBI single, but the Sagehen’s first baseman gloved the ball and beat Martin to the bag, but Cherney did manage to score. Monty McDermott then hit a run-scoring double, letting Cordova cross the plate.
Pitzer came back strong in its half of the fourth, scoring seven runs. This gave the ‘Hens a short-lived lead, 10-6. ULV came back as Chris Beyer got on base on the Sagehen shortstop’s first of two errors. Beyer stole second and scored as Alan Macleod was safe at first, thanks to the second error by the shortstop. Macleod was able to work his way to third and scored on a passed ball.
The Leos still were not finished as they scored three more runs in the seventh inning. Cherney led off with his second home run, and then Cordova singled and advanced to third on the pitcher’s error. This also allowed the batter, Scott Root, to go to second. Cordova scored on Jeff Fraser’s sacrifice and Smith singled in Root.
ULV was still not finished as it scored four more in the ninth. Pomona scored three runs, but that was not enough as ULV held on to win, 15-13. Everyone helped the Leos win this one as they came home ready to play the Sagehens in a doubleheader the next day.
The Leos fell behind early in the first game as Pomona scored two runs in the bottom of the first. ULV sliced the lead in half as Cherney doubled and scored on another double by center fielder Don Lockman. The Leos then took the lead in their half of the third, as Smith doubled and Macleod hit a two-run homer, and after three innings, the score was 3-2, ULV. The Sagehens scored two runs in the fifth but failed to mount any threat as the Leos scored twice in their half of the fifth.
Pitzer tied the score with a single run in the sixth, making the score 5-5. ULV erupted for four runs as Lockman led off the explosion as he singled, advanced to third on a double by Root and scored on a single by Smith.
Then as ULV had runners on the corners, Hubel had a sacrifice fly, making it 7-5. This brought up Davenport, who hit a two-run homer to make it 9-5, ULV.
Starting pitcher Paul Janssen allowed only one more run and closed the door on 1he ‘Hens. This gave the Leos two wins in two games, and they could make it a clean sweep if they won the nightcap.
ULV started off strong in game three as Davenport hit a home run to give the Leos a 1-0 lead. Starting pitcher Chip Porter made it stand up until the fifth, when he surrendered the Sagehens’ only run, tying it 1-1. It stayed this way until Davenport did it again, hitting another home run. This gave Davenport three home runs in two games. Then the Leos scored three more in the eighth inning to win the nightcap 5-1.
The Leos offense was not the only thing clicking in the nightcap. Porter had strong defensive play behind him.
In the top of the eighth, Pitzer loaded the bases with three straight singles. This brought up the Sagehens’ left fielder, who hit what seemed to be a game-tying single. But sophomore Wade Bates made a backhand stab, turned and threw out the runner at the plate. With one out, the bases still loaded, the Leos turned a crucial double play.
With the right fielder at the plate, Porter induced him to hit a ground ball to shortstop Hubel, who threw to Bates for the force at second, and Bates threw to first baseman Martin to complete the inning-ending double play. This seemed to give the edge in momentum to the Leos as they struck to score their three runs and win.
This gave ULV a 6-0 record in the SCIAC conference and 10-16 overall. The Leos’ next game is today at Redlands and they conclude the series tomorrow, hosting the Bulldogs in a doubleheader at 11 a.m.