by Enrique Gutiérrez
With a powerful offensive demonstration, the University of La Verne baseball team warmed up for the final stretch of the season.
ULV had 19 hits, including four home runs, on its way to defeating Chapman, 15-10, in a non-conference game on Tuesday.
The win moved the Leopards to a 17-10-1 overall record, 12-3 conference record.
Head coach Bobby Lee hopes the win will help the Leopards to get out of their slump and finish the season with a strong pace.
“We played well [on Tuesday], we played well at UC San Diego,” said Lee. “If we swing the bat the way we swung it [Tuesday], I like our chances.”
The Leopards stand in second place in SCIAC, two games behind Cal Lutheran with only two more conference series remaining on their schedule.
“We control our own destiny. We can’t worry about what other people are doing,” Lee said. “We need to take care of ours, we need to play the game.”
Against Chapman, La Verne took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and doubled it in the third before the Panthers got on the scoreboard.
Four Leopards had three hits. Nate Devine was one of them, and he led the way by scoring four runs. Designated hitter Aaron Hill also had three hits and the same number of RBI.
However, Chapman fought back and rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring six runs to go ahead 8-7.
ULV pitcher Bo Balzar struck out four batters, but also handed out four walks in four innings of work in which Chapman scored five runs. Ryan Christoph came on in relief and had two strikeouts in two innings.
The visiting Leopards answered right back in their next at bat with two players touching all four bases, and the Leopards were up 9-8.
With the score 10-8, La Verne put the game out of reach for the Panthers by adding five more runs.
Chapman had the last at-bat, but could only score twice in the bottom of the ninth to set the final score at 15-10.
“We swung the bat really, really well,” Lee said. “We also had 10 two-out RBI, which is wonderful.”
Christoph obtained the win and his record improved to 5-2.
“We give Chapman some credit. They can swing a little bit. We misplayed a couple of ground balls and threw a couple of baseballs away,” said Lee. “Guys are making aggressive mistakes, which is OK with me.”
The Leopards host Pomona-Pitzer today at 3 p.m. The series continues tomorrow with a doubleheader at Claremont. Play starts at 11 a.m