Losses could prove costly in SCIAC.
Pui Lok Choi
After winning a season high seven games in a row, the Leopards streak came to an end on Friday, getting swept in a three-game series with Cal Lutheran.
On Friday, the Kingsmen struck first in the fourth inning with four runs on four hits and two errors but the Leopards answered back in the bottom of the fifth inning with three runs of their own.
Jon-Michael Hattabaugh led the inning off with a solo home run to right field. Then with two outs, left fielder Joe Buckley singled back up the middle to keep the inning alive allowing designated hitter Kevin Ibarra to homer and put the Leopards within one run of the Kingsmen.
The Leopards threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning when catcher Mike Surina hit a screaming line drive to deep left field but was robbed of a home run by left fielder Brandyn Delgado.
“Now looking back on that play, that was probably the potential play of the game,” head coach Scott Winterburn said.
Cal Lutheran relief pitcher Ian Durham pitched two scoreless innings to keep the Leopards in check.
Junior pitcher Matt Baudino pitched well as the starter, giving up only one earned run, but three unearned runs due to errors, in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
“It’s always tough to lose a close game like that but we have to keep our heads up and play to our strengths,” Baudino said.
“We just have to forget about it, we have to go home, try to take it in, and think about what can be done to be better,” Winterburn said. “In our conference it’s a dog fight until the end.”
Despite the strong pitching of starter Baudino, and 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief by sophomore Anthony Cerafice, the Leopards hurt themselves with errors and leaving 11 runners on base.
“We can look back at what should’ve, could’ve and would’ve happened, but the two errors cost us,” Surina said.
“We have to focus and be fired up and go after them next time,” he added.
At the plate for the Leopards, Hattabaugh finished 3-for-5 with two singles and a home run while Ibarra was 2-for-4 with a single, homerun and two runs batted in.
On Saturday, the Leopards dropped both games of the doubleheader, 4-3 and 9-8, losing each game of the three-game series by one run each.
On Tuesday, the Leopards faltered after taking an early 4-0 lead but could not hold on as the Biola Eagles came back to win, 13-6.
Senior pitcher Tim Jolly recorded the loss and leading the Leopards offense was shortstop Mark Larini, who went 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a run batted in, and freshman catcher Jason Moralez who had a home run and three runs batted in.
On Wednesday, the Leopards failed to get on the right track, dropping a non-conference game to Chapman, 11-2.
Pui Lok Choi can be reached at email@example.com.