The baseball team exploded for nine extra-base hits Monday to defeat Dickinson at Ben Hines Field, 11-6.
The Leopards got back into the win column after losing both games of a doubleheader against Endicott on Sunday.
“Our goals for the game were to trust the process, to fulfill our plan, and to stick to each moment individually,” junior third baseman Lukas Granado said. “And just try to be the best players on the field every game.”
The top of the first inning started off strong for the Red Devils as they faced Leopard junior pitcher Miles Tsujimoto.
Dickinson was able to score three runs on five hits before La Verne recorded an out.
Tsujimoto would retire the next three batters to get out of the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the first, freshman catcher Gabe Lopez got aboard on a throwing error by Dickinson junior shortstop Max Brown.
After the error, designated hitter Jakob Thomas walked to put two on with one out for senior first baseman Nicholas Michaels.
Michaels got a pitch he could handle and drove it to right field for an RBI double to make it 3-1.
Thomas scored from third on a fielder’s choice by junior right fielder Brandon Vogel.
Michaels was able to take third on the fielder’s choice with two outs in the inning.
That was a big play as he later scored on a wild pitch to knot the game at 3-3.
Holding Dickinson scoreless in the top of the second, the Leopards were able to get back into the dugout and score some more runs.
Senior shortstop Mauricio Guadarrama doubled to start off the bottom of the second inning.
Thompson followed with a walk to put two runners on with no outs.
Junior second baseman Rudy Cesarez III laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over.
Lopez singled up the middle and scored both runners to make it 5-3.
Lopez stole second and Michaels scored him with a double to left field to give La Verne a 6-3 lead.
“It’s always a team effort and we rely on each other heavily, we rely on our coaches and basically our culture of wanting to win every moment and every game,” Ethan Fulsher, junior pitcher, said. “So every game is a team effort.”
The game stayed 6-3 until the fifth inning.
The bottom of the fifth inning Vogel tripled to start the inning and scored after sophomore catcher Adam Santa Cruz followed with his own triple to left center field.
Shortly after, Guadarrama doubled to right field, scoring junior third baseman Ishwar Persaud, who drew a walk, and Cruz.
“We played well,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “We really got a spark from a couple people. One is we started Ishwar Persaud at third and he gave us a real big spark.”
Guadarrama made it home after Casarez singled to left field, giving the Leopards a 10-3 lead over the Red Devils.
Dickinson was able to get three unearned runs across in the top of the seventh to make it 11-6.
La Verne added another run in the bottom of the eighth on a double by Lopez and a triple by Thomas with two outs to make it 11-6.
“As far as the season goes, as long as we stick to Burn’s process, I think we’ll do really good,” Lopez said. “I think we have a shot to win some games this year.”
Winterburn also praised sophomore pitcher Tyler Agajanian, who got the win with four innings of scoreless relief.
“Today and we started doing things the way that we’re trained to do them that has worked out,” Winterburn said. “So, hopefully we can keep it going and hopefully that gives us a little spark and we can carry that forward.”
The Leopards lost an 10-inning heartbreaker to Rutgers-Newark on Tuesday, 10-8.
La Verne has a 9-8 record overall and is 7-2 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
Next up for the Leopards are the Vassar Brewers at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ben Hines Field, followed by a rematch with Rutgers-Newark at 3 p.m.
Hailey Helms can be reached at email@example.com.