The Leopards baseball team kickstarted their three-game series with a doubleheader at Ben Hines Field against the Whittier Poets Saturday afternoon.
The Leopards took the first win in game one, 6-4, but were unable to close the second game, losing 6-4.
The Poets jumped ahead in the first game with a lead-off triple from senior center fielder Dane Goodman. Sophomore first baseman Teige Barrett followed with a sacrifice fly which brought the Poets up to 1-0 after two batters.
By the second inning, the Poets were dominating the scoreboard, taking the lead 3-0.
La Verne sophomore first baseman Noah Garcia, and three-time Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week, believes the team was playing well but could have prevented some runs from being scored.
“The team performed well in moments but overall our level of play could have been much better,” Garcia said. “Some of the innings could have been limited if we were able to flush mistakes and be mentally strong but we weren’t the strongest in that part of the game today which hurt us.”
The third inning is when the Leopards were able to put some runs on the board after junior center fielder Matt Diaz broke open the inning with a single. A sacrifice fly from freshman shortstop Ryan Voiska and a single from senior second baseman Chase Siffert gave the Leopards a pair of runs to bring the score to 3-2.
The bottom of the seventh inning is when things took a turn in favor for the Leopards. Senior designated hitter Anthony Salcedo tripled to right center, bringing in another two runs for the Leopards and ultimately securing their lead.
“I was having some flashes of good, especially in the first game,” Salcedo said. “We had some moments where our pitching and defense gave us a chance to come back and we just have to take it to them the rest of our games.”
Senior left fielder Cameron Slessor went 1-for-3 in the game with a run scored.
“Anthony’s triple in game one was huge for us and really catapulted us to a win,” Slessor said. “The second game we got outcompeted by a scrappy team which always stings but we’ll come back tomorrow and get back to playing our brand of baseball as a team.”
Sophomore pitcher Benny Vogel, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, closed out the game for his eighth save.
“I felt like I provided a good relief appearance for us in the first game to help secure that win,” Vogel said. “It was back and forth all game but after Salcedo hit that triple it gave us the momentum we needed to close out.”
Following this doubleheader the Leopards traveled to Whittier on Sunday to finish the three-game series, winning 11-8.
Their overall record for this season is 25-12 and a SCIAC record of 18-3 making them first in conference.
The Leopards next three-game series starts at 3 p.m. Friday at Ben Hines Field against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Ashlyn Ledbetter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.