Cal Lu sweeps ULV in crucial series

Stretching it to the max, senior second baseman Mike Smith makes the play in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Cal Lutheran. Despite forcing out Kingsman Adam Rauch on the play, Smith and the Leopards still lost all three games of the crucial series, 3-1, 5-3 and 3-2. / photo by Rosie Sinapi
Stretching it to the max, senior second baseman Mike Smith makes the play in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Cal Lutheran. Despite forcing out Kingsman Adam Rauch on the play, Smith and the Leopards still lost all three games of the crucial series, 3-1, 5-3 and 3-2. / photo by Rosie Sinapi

by Salina Ronderos
Staff Writer

Bouncing back from a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) sweep by rival Cal Lutheran College, the University of La Verne baseball team came from behind to defeat Southern California College, 3-2, yesterday.

The game, a make-up from Wednesday’s rain-out was highlight by a two-run home run by freshman Kevin Johnstone in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The left field shot came with senior Steven Reyes on first after being hit by a pitch.

SCC scored its runs in the top of the fifth inning on two singles, a double and a sacrifice bunt to take a 2-1 lead.

La Verne had taken a 1-0 lead in the third inning after senior Bobby Sherwood singled in junior Brock Whobrey who had doubled with one out.

Junior rightfielder Seth Marrs credits the win to timely hits and great pitching. “Our pitchers have been pitching as well as they can pitch.”

The win give the Leos a 5-4 overall record, who are 0-3 in SCIAC.

After the dropping the SCIAC opener, 5-3, to Cal Lutheran last Friday afternoon, the Leos were prepared to defeat the Kingsmen in a doubleheader Saturday morning on Ben Hines Field. Despite preparation and support from fans, the Leos came out of the three game series not so much victors as survivors after the damage was done.

Game one of the doubleheader brought the first runs to the scoreboard by Cal Lu senior catcher Rik Work. With men on first and second, Work hit a clean line drive to right field in the bottom of the third and vigorously rounded third base as his teammates crossed the plate for what was thought of as an inside the park home run.

The hit was declared a ground rule double because the ball was stuck in the right field batting cages, so the Kingsmen were only able to score one run.

Later that same inning, with ULV senior second baseman Mike Smith on second base, senior first baseman Pat Murray hit a solid inside the park home run, to give the Leos the lead, 2-1.

At the top of the fifth inning the tables turned. Once again Cal Lu’s Work came through for his team with a two run single up the middle, bringing the Kingsmen ahead by one run.

The Leos came back to close the gap as senior left fielder David Madrid, hit an RBI double down the left field line, thus tying the score and sending the game into extra innings.

Cal Lu immediately conquered the final inning with junior infielder Mike Young’s run and a second home run by Cal Lu junior catcher Tom McGee.

There was a near confrontation between McGee and Smith, apparently over something that McGee said as he was rounding the bases.

With much excitement and tension emerging through the stands, the Leos were unable to come back in the final inning, losing the game, 5-3.

Roaring into the second half of the doubleheader, the Leos proved they were not going to give up the series without a fight. And a home run into left field by Murray was just the ticket.

The second game was filled with great hits, yet the Leos were unable to execute and bring their men home, leaving too many runners in the bases.

“We basically weren’t hitting the ball the way we had been,” said Johnstone. “We made crucial errors at crucial points in the game,” he said.

As Sherwood anxiously waited on second base, senior pitcher George Garcia, fired a base hit down the middle advancing Sherwood home, creating a 2-0 score in the Leos’ favor.

Just as mighty as the Leos stood, so too did the Kingsmen, tying the game at the bottom of the fifth with a two run base hit by outfielder Robert Nichols.

The game monotonously continued “three up, three down” until the top of the eighth when Kingsman infielder Frank Maldonado stole second and Sherwood overthrew the ball, causing the runner to score, pulling the Kingsmen ahead by one run, 3-2.

Holding the Kingsmen in the ninth inning, the Leos were still unable to execute a victory, ending the final game of the three game series, 3-2.

According to ULV junior third baseman, Robert Aguirre, this loss has not created a major impact on the team.

“It is kind of a set back in a way, because now they have us head-to-head. But now we know we just have to do what we have to do and concentrate on future games,” said Aguirre.

Johnstone agreed with his teammate on moving forward with the rest of the season and said the overall morale of the team is still positive.

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