Baseball wins two after tough start

La Verne senior catcher Dylan Lowenstein chases Pomona-Pitzer’s Matt Omori in a pickle Friday at Ben Hines Field. Lowenstein tagged him out but the Sagehens went on to beat the Leopards, 11-2./ photo by Alexandra Arkley
La Verne senior catcher Dylan Lowenstein chases Pomona-Pitzer’s Matt Omori in a pickle Friday at Ben Hines Field. Lowenstein tagged him out but the Sagehens went on to beat the Leopards, 11-2. / photo by Alexandra Arkley

Shaikha Almawlani
Staff Writer

The Leopards dropped the series opener against Pomona-Pitzer, 11-2, last Friday but bounced back to win both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader, 5-2 and 10-5, to take the weekend series against the Sagehens.

Friday’s game started with Sagehens freshman shortstop Nolan McCafferty driving in senior catcher Kevin Jordan in the first inning to score the first run of the game.

The Leopards quickly followed when sophomore third baseman Christopher Peres singled to the right center leading to a run scored by senior infielder Justin Wright.

“I expected them to have tough starting pitching with well-rounded defense to back them up,” Peres said. “We prepared all week to hit the fastballs. I saw the ball good in all my at bats and just tried to hit it hard.”

Junior left fielder Mark Abbate singled up the middle enabling junior outfielder Jakob Thomas to score the second run to give the Leopards the lead.

“We came out really strong,” Abbate said. “We strung a couple of good at bats together and scored those two runs giving us some good momentum.”

“I felt good,” Thomas said. “We had a good week of practice and prepared well for the starter against Pomona.”

The Sagehens made a comeback in the third inning and continued to score until the end of the 10th inning, with a final score of 11-2.

“When they took the lead I felt like we needed to get behind our guy and I expected us to have to dig deep and string together at bats to cut the lead down,” Peres said.

Abbate said he expected a comeback after the Sagehens took the lead due to the momentum they acquired in the first inning.

“When Pitzer took the lead, I didn’t think anything of it because I know what our team is capable of,” Abbate said.

“Knowing that we scored a couple of runs off of that pitcher showed us that we had no problem hitting off of him. When the game ended and we hadn’t scored since the first, the feeling I had was disappointment, mostly because I know what our team is capable of and we just didn’t execute,” he said.

Thomas said the team was aware of the Sagehens’ abilities and had practiced their anticipating fast balls and good swings.

“We knew we had our work cut out for us,” Thomas said. “We had a good week of practice and prepared well for the starter against Pomona. We knew what he had and had a good game plan for him.”

Peres went 4-for-5 at the plate in La Verne’s 5-2 game one win over Pomona-Pitzer.

Junior pitcher Hayden Firth pitched four scoreless relief innings to carry the La Verne baseball team to a win.

La Verne scored five runs in the top of the 10th inning of the second game to beat the Sagehens, 10-5, and complete the sweep.

Firth, who came on with one out in the eighth inning, allowed a single and a walk to start the bottom of the tenth inning. He stroke out the next three batters in the batting order to pick up his second win of the day.

Thomas reassured that the score did not demoralize the Leopards throughout the game as they are always ready to make comebacks.

“As a group we were ready to strike and get ahead,” Thomas said. “It just didn’t happen that game.”

La Verne has an overall record of 18-15 and a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record of 12-6.

That record is good for fourth place in SCIAC, five games behind first place Cal Lutheran.

The Leopards will play again on Friday against the Chapman Panthers in a three game series with postseason implications.

Shaikha Almawlani can be reached at shaikha.almawlani@laverne.edu.

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