Baseball strikes out against Master’s

After making the out, junior shortstop Corey Rooper throws to first for a double play against Master's College (27-8) on Tuesday. La Verne lost, 10-9, and its record now stands at 20-12, and 9-6 in SCIAC. The Leopards next game is at home today against Caltech at 3 p.m. The series continues Saturday with a doubleheader at Caltech. / photo by Summer Herndon
After making the out, junior shortstop Corey Rooper throws to first for a double play against Master’s College (27-8) on Tuesday. La Verne lost, 10-9, and its record now stands at 20-12, and 9-6 in SCIAC. The Leopards next game is at home today against Caltech at 3 p.m. The series continues Saturday with a doubleheader at Caltech. / photo by Summer Herndon

by Enrique Gutiérrez
Staff Writer

With two men on and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, the University of La Verne was behind one run and junior Mike Guzman had the game in his hands with a full count.

The next pitch, Guzman swung his bat, but the baseball ended up in the catcher’s glove.

Guzman entered the game as a pinch hitter with the game on the line. He struck out, and La Verne fell short against the Master’s College Mustangs, 10-9, Tuesday night. The lights of Ben Hines Field went off as the Leopards lost their 12th game of the season, and their seventh of the last 10 games.

“The little things are getting us in trouble. It’s the little things that are making a big difference right now,” said head coach Bobby Lee.

The Leopards (20-12) committed four errors, twice as many as the visiting team.

“Our offense is right, the pitchers are doing a good job, but our problem is that we aren’t playing catch,” said junior outfielder Masaomi Ueda.

Ueda scored the final run for the Leopards when junior shortstop Corey Rooper hit a double with one out in the ninth.

La Verne’s chances looked promising having the potential tying run 180 feet away from home plate.

Junior Kurt Fillmore was moved from center field to the mound to close the game for the Mustangs.

He started off by walking La Verne’s power hitter, junior first baseman Russell Riehl. Then, struck out junior designated hitter Kyle Spielbuehler with three pitches and finished his job eliminating Guzman.

Fillmore earned his fourth win while senior Matt Johnson took the loss for the Leopards. Johnson (2-3) worked four innings and struck out four batters.

La Verne held a 4-2 lead at the end of the fourth inning. But the Mustangs answered immediately with a three-run blast by junior catcher Rob Avila.

Master’s added four more runs to their score in the sixth.

“We need to find the ability to keep playing hard for nine innings,” said Lee.

He also emphasized that his players are working hard and they never give up.

“We keep trying hard and we keep getting better,” he said. “I’m very happy with the way the guys are working.”

La Verne is currently in fourth place in conference play with a 9-6 record, but it has the opportunity to move up in the standings as it faces a winless Caltech squad in a three-game series starting today at 3 p.m.

“It does not matter who we play, our goal is to make it to the playoffs,” said Ueda.

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