Baseball hits off another successful season

Jonathan Corral
Staff Writer

Coming off a fantastic season a year ago, the University of La Verne men’s baseball team began their 2005 campaign just as they finished last season, on top.

The Leopards, who were last year’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions, began the new year winning three of their first four games beginning with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the No. 19 ranked Biola University Eagles of the National Athletic Intercollegiate Association, losing 13-1 to the same Biola team, a thrilling 5-3 victory over Concordia University and a commanding 8-2 win over the University of British Columbia.

Once again, the story of the game was pinch-hitter Jason House, who for the second consecutive game hit a pinch-hit home run. This time House hit a two-run shot that put the exclamation point on the Leopards’ victory.

“Jason has really started to put things together,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “It’s hard to sit on the bench and come in for one at bat, but Jason is that type of kid and he can really hit a fastball.”

The Leopard pitching staff held British Colombia in check the entire game with their two aces, Mark Simmons and Scott Lindeen, who both pitched four innings of shutout baseball.

Lindeen picked up the victory, his first of the season.

“Our pitching staff, they pitched as well as any pitching staff can pitch,” Winterburn said. “We only had one walk the whole game and our defense had no errors, which was huge.”

Offensively the Leopards were led by left fielder Daniel Talbot who went one for two with two RBI’s and Michael Bockstahler who finished the game with two hits.

Sparks flew in the Leopards’ victory over Concordia when pinch hitter House stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning and hit a three-run home run leading the Leopards to the 5-3 victory. Before the home run, the game was a pitching battle as Concordia held a slim 2-0 advantage.

Other Leopards who contributed to the victory were catcher BJ DuBarry, who continued his early season hot streak going 3 for 4 with a RBI, and first-baseman Jonathan Marty who went 1 for 2 with an RBI.

Craig Neu picked up his second victory of the season after coming in to relieve starter Michael Bockstahler who pitched five strong innings. Closer Anthony Ornelas also recorded his second save of the season.

The second of the three Leopard games is one they would like to forget. After beating Biola in the first game with great pitching and clutch hitting, both disappeared as Biola avenged the loss with a hit parade resulting in a 13-1 victory for the Eagles.

The only Leopard run came off the bat of catcher Dubarry who smacked a towering home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Dubarry finished the game going 3 for 4. First baseman Marty and third-baseman Jason Jarvis each went 2 for 3 respectively.

“The difference between the two games was the pitching,” Winterburn said. “They were just hitting us all over the park.”

Opening game of the season between the Leopards and Biola was a far different story then game two.

Biola jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and threatened to break open the game by having the bases loaded with no outs.

Leopard starter Mark Simmons shifted the momentum back on the Leopards’ side ending the Eagle threat by striking out the next three batters to end the inning.

Two runs in the top of the fifth sparked the Leopards as they tied the Eagles off of RBI hits from Michael Bockstahler and Daniel Talbot.

After giving up two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Leopards regained the lead for good, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh inning taking advantage of two big Biola errors.

Leopard starter Neu recorded the victory while Ornelas allowed just one hit in the ninth inning picking up his first save of the season.

La Verne continues competition against Redlands today, at 2:30 p.m. on Ben Hines Field.

Jonathan Corral can be reached at jcorral@ulv.edu.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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