Leopards cook Sagehens in series

Beating the tag, senior second baseman Mike Smith proves successful in out-maneuvering Pomona-Pitzer's’ Jonny Ulibarri in last Friday’s game. The Leopards were victorious against the Sagehens, 10-1. / photo by Starr Carroll
Beating the tag, senior second baseman Mike Smith proves successful in out-maneuvering Pomona-Pitzer’s Jonny Ulibarri in last Friday’s game. The Leopards were victorious against the Sagehens, 10-1. / photo by Starr Carroll

by Judy Polanco
Staff Writer

Extending its SCIAC winning streak to six, the University of La Verne baseball team swept the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in a doubleheader, 11-2 and 12-3, on Saturday. Going into the game with a 10-1 win against Pomona-Pitzer on Friday, La Verne continued its momentum throughout the series.

Wasting no time in the first inning, the Leopards took control offensively, racking up four hits and loading the bases. Senior catcher Bobby Sherwood’s line-drive double down the third base line brought in two runs that led to a 4-0 Leopard lead.

Starting with the second inning, it looked as though Pomona-Pitzer was going to put a stop to La Verne’s offense, shutting them out in the next three straight innings. But La Verne answered back with seven combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings, sealing the 11-2 victory.

“Jeff Doen threw a real good ball game,” said head coach Owen Wright.

Doen, a senior pitcher, allowed eight hits for only two runs and struck out seven batters in the first game.

“We pitched well, we hit well, we played good defense,” said Wright. “When you put all that together, it is tough for the other team to beat you.”

The second game of the doubleheader did not turn around for Pomona-Pitzer. Its defense was no match for La Verne’s offense. The threatening combination of senior first baseman Pat Murray, Sherwood and freshman outfielder Kevin Johnstone hindered all possibilities for a Sagehen rally.

“Pat Murray hit the ball extremely well,” said Wright.

Murray’s bat never seemed to fail, batting an impressive 3 for 5 at the plate. He came through with three crushing doubles, one in the seventh inning that was a 380-foot shot off the wall. Along with his devastating bat, Murray contributed two runs to the La Verne scoreboard.

Sherwood was definitely in nobody’s shadow when it came to the second game of the doubleheader. Sherwood ignited a spark under the Leopard offense, pounding out three hits in three at bats, giving him a perfect record at the plate.

“We were really clicking, and that’s the way we should be playing in all the series,” said Sherwood.

Johnstone led off the ninth inning with a blasting 370-foot solo homerun, which was the beginning of a four-run inning for La Verne. He went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and one double in the second game.

“I had a 2-0 count and I said, ‘This guy is going to throw it right down the middle, so if he does, I’m going to swing as hard as I can,’” said Johnstone. “And I did.”

When it came down to pitching, freshman Ernie Magaña held his own and picked up his first win. Magaña struck out 10 batters, allowing only one walk. After giving up a homerun to Pomona-Pitzer’s Brad Shuckhart and a double to Kevin Hickey, Magaña regained his composure and retired the next two batters. The Leopard defense worked together with Magaña, shutting down the Sagehen offense to only three runs.

“It was unbelievable, our entire team played great throughout the series,” said junior right fielder Seth Marrs.

In the first contest of the three game series, La Verne had an errorless game against Pomona-Pitzer. Sophomore Ken Miller went four for four with four RBIs. He stretched two of those four hits into doubles.

La Verne will square off with Redlands this afternoon at 2:30 on Ben Hines Field. Tomorrow, the Leopards will travel to Redlands to begin a doubleheader series at 11 a.m. Wright expects an exciting battle between Redlands and La Verne.

“We respect each other and it’s just going to be a good series. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Wright.

Senior pitcher George Garcia sustained an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament during practice on Monday. He is expected to be out for at least a month.

Judy Polanco
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Starr Carroll
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