Leopards cannot overcome four-run first inning

Graduate student infielder Marissa Acosta fields a ball on Saturday at Campus West. In the split doubleheader, the Leopards beat Baldwin Wallace in the first game, 6-1, but lost to the Panthers, 5-1. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
Graduate student infielder Marissa Acosta fields a ball on Saturday at Campus West. In the split doubleheader, the Leopards beat Baldwin Wallace in the first game, 6-1, but lost to the Panthers, 5-1. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

Jonas Holt
Staff Writer

The Leopards took to the diamond on Saturday afternoon for a non-conference clash against the No. 25 Chapman Panthers at Campus West, ending in a 5-1 loss for the Leopards. 

Junior pitcher Alayna Munoz got the start against the Panthers and went all seven innings, giving up five earned runs on 12 hits with one strikeout and four walks. 

Junior pitcher Alayna Munoz winds up on the mound while pitching to the Chapman lineup Saturday at Campus West. The Leopards lost, 5-1. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

“We truly only had one bad inning, which was the first inning,” head coach Tara Anaya said. “It starts on the mound, it gives us our tempo on defense and how we’ll come out and play.”

Munoz got underway by getting Chapman senior outfielder Katie Carder to ground out to junior infielder Erika Garcia for the first out of the game. Munoz then struggled, giving up a hit and a walk followed by junior infielder Ilianna Serna reaching base on a fielder’s choice that led to a two-out rally by the Panthers. 

Panthers’ junior outfielder Morgan Lastinger started the rally with a grounder through the five-six hole that scored their first run of the game, followed by a line drive over third base by junior first baseman Jordan Westerfield to make it 2-0 Panthers.

Chapman did not stop there as junior outfielder Samantha Kennedy hit a bases-clearing double to extend their lead to 4-0 in the first inning, but Munoz struck out the next batter to stop the bleeding for the Leopards.

Despite the Leopards getting out of their first-inning jam, they could not get momentum on their side as Chapman sophomore pitcher Rose Malen pitched a one-two-three inning to send the Leopards back onto the field. 

“I think we could’ve slowed down our approach and slowed the game down,” Garcia said. “I felt like we were just putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves again.”

The Leopards got going in the bottom of the second inning as sophomore first baseman Isabella Garcia got the first hit of the game for them with a single into right field. After junior outfielder Ashley Rodriguez drew a walk, Malen shut the Leopards out of the inning, recording three straight outs to leave runners stranded on first and second.

“We definitely were pressing up at the plate, and we just weren’t finding our pitches,” graduate student infielder Taylor Gray said. “I think we could’ve composed ourselves a little bit more and taken our right pitches.”

The Panthers hitting barrage continued with two-straight hits to start the third inning, followed by a bunt to load the bases with no outs. This set the stage for a force out at third by Gray, who threw home and freshman catcher Ava Chacon missed the tag on the runner, allowing the Panthers to lead 5-0. The Leopards managed to get out of the jam once again thanks to two plays by Erika Garcia to get runners out. 

La Verne junior pitcher Alayna Munoz faces Chapman on Saturday at Campus West. She pitched a complete game, giving up 12 hits and five earned runs to lose, 5-1. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

After a double by junior outfielder Angelina Alderete, Erika Garcia stepped up to the plate and hit a line drive up the middle into center and Alderete scored, giving the Leopards their only run of the game. 

“We’re really good at making adjustments, but at the end of the day it’s about getting on top and doing what you have to do to score runs,” Alderete said.

In the top of the fourth inning, despite Munoz giving up a walk, the Leopards managed to escape without giving up any runs. However, Malen continued to deal for the Panthers in the bottom half of the inning, surrendering only one hit.

Malen’s dominance persisted into the bottom of the fifth, as she breezed through the Leopards’ lineup with another one-two-three inning.

The Leopards’ hitting struggles continued into the bottom of the sixth and into the seventh, with their offense unable to generate any momentum despite a late surge from graduate student first baseman Marissa Acosta and Gray in the final inning. Their efforts were not enough as the Panthers would claim a 5-1 victory at Campus West. 

The loss now makes the Leopards 4-8 on the season and they will look ahead to a three- game Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference series against the No. 21 Redlands Bulldogs, with the first game at 3 p.m. Friday at Redlands. The following two games in the series will be played at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday at Campus West. 

“We’ve been preparing for this road, and they know what it’s gonna take,” Anaya said. “They’re ready to get after it on Friday afternoon.”

Jonas Holt can be reached at jonas.holt@laverne.edu.

At first base, La Verne sophomore first baseman Isabella Garcia watches the ball closely while Chapman junior first baseman Jordan Westerfield takes her lead Saturday at Campus West. The Panthers beat the Leopards, 5-1. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

Jonas Holt is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He is a staff writer and staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

Sheridan Lambrook, a senior journalism major with a concentration in visual journalism, is photography editor and a staff writer for the Campus Times.

CommentCancel reply

Related articles

Leopards secure thrilling Senior Day victory

In a fitting finale to their season, the Leopards rallied to a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Whittier Poets on Senior Day Friday at Campus West. This marked the first game of a three-game series, with the subsequent doubleheader at Whittier on Saturday. 

Late-inning heroics help baseball complete sweep

A grueling three-game series against the Chapman Panthers ended in a dramatic 7-5 win for the No. 10 Leopards in the second game of their doubleheader Saturday to complete a series sweep.

Mistakes prove costly in softball’s loss

Six runners left on base and two errors proved costly as the Leopards lost, 6-2, in the opening game of a three-game series against the Chapman Panthers in a SCIAC matchup at Campus West on Friday afternoon. 

Leopards lose nail-biter to Sagehens

The Leopards faced a tough battle against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in game two of their doubleheader, losing 2-1 on Tuesday night at Campus West. 
Exit mobile version