The La Verne baseball team faced the Endicott College Gulls in a doubleheader Saturday, winning the first game, 10-5, but dropping the ball in game two, losing 11-0 at Ben Hines Field.
“Our goal in the next month is to mature more,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “We can clean up some things, but we held on tight today.”
The opener of the series was played on March 16, when the Gulls won, 5-3.
Coming in with a 4-2 record, graduate student pitcher Gerald Terry took the mound in Saturday’s first game for the Leopards.
La Verne started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore first baseman Noah Garcia hit an RBI single to left field, bringing in junior shortstop Anthony Salcedo, who had been hit by a pitch from Endicott senior pitcher Rian Schwede.
Sophomore right fielder Logan Reese hit an RBI triple to deep center field, bringing in Garcia and making the score 2-0. Senior left fielder Cameron Slessor hit an RBI single to right field, scoring Reese and then freshman third baseman Aiden Salcedo stepped up and hit another triple to left center, scoring Slessor and putting the Leopards’ on top 4-0 at the end of the first inning.
The Gulls cut the Leopards’ lead in half in the top of the second inning, scoring two runs when junior third baseman Kyle Grabowski and sophomore second baseman Robbie Wladkowksi hit back-to-back singles and crossed the plate via hits by freshman shortstop TJ Liponis and graduate student right fielder Joseph Millar.
By the end of the fourth inning, Terry had struck out 11 batters.
Liponis led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run, bringing Endicott within one, 4-3.
Reese answered back in the bottom of the inning, hitting a home run over the left field fence, making the score 5-3.
The score went back to a one-run game in the top of the sixth when Wladkowski hit an RBI single up the middle, bringing in Grabowski.
Terry struck out the last two batters he faced in the game, bringing his grand total to 15 strikeouts in six innings pitched. Sophomore pitcher Benny Vogel replaced him in the top of the seventh inning.
“My fastball and slider were working well,” Terry said. “I just stuck with them.”
Endicott junior pitcher Nicholas Cannata walked senior second baseman Chase Siffert to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Garcia. Reese singled to right field, scoring Siffert and increasing the Leopards’ lead to 6-4.
Cannata hit freshman catcher Nathan Perry with a pitch and was then relieved by sophomore Foch Lovejoy on the mound.
Lovejoy walked Slessor and Reese scored on a wild pitch. Salcedo walked, loading the bases for senior Miguel Espana, who pinch hit for sophomore designated hitter Malachi Francois. Espana hit an RBI double to center field, scoring freshman shortstop Ryan Vosika, who was running for Perry, and Slessor.
“When you go into the game as a pinch hitter, you have to be ready to hit the fastball,” Espana said. “All I had in mind was to hit the fastball.”
Endicott then brought in freshman pitcher Evan Scully. Salcedo, who had advanced to third on the previous play, scored when sophomore center fielder Matthew Diaz hit a sacrifice fly to left field, making the score 10-4.
Endicott scored one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning, but could not make a comeback against the Leopards. Vogel recorded the save and La Verne won, 10-5.
Reese ended the game going 3-4, with three RBIs and three runs scored. He was a double away from hitting for the cycle.
“I was thinking middle away,” Reese said. “I was just trying to get a good barrel on the ball.”
The Leopards followed the doubleheader with a 21-14 loss to Middlebury on Monday.
The Leopards are now 11-10 overall and 5-1 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
The team looks to get back in the win column with a three-game series against Caltech this weekend. The Leopards travel to Pasadena to face the Beavers at 3 p.m. today, followed by a doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow at Ben Hines Field.
Sydney Ferris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.