Leopards’ offense erupts against Kingsmen

Senior first baseman Noah Garcia takes a big swing against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on Friday at Ben Hines Field. Garcia finished 1-for-4 on the day with a walk as the Leopards won, 12-4. / photo by Jonas Holt
Junior first baseman Noah Garcia takes a big swing against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on Friday at Ben Hines Field. Garcia finished 1-for-4 on the day with a walk as the Leopards won, 12-4. / photo by Jonas Holt

Jack Janes
Sports Editor

La Verne baseball’s offense exploded with 16 hits in their 12-4 victory over the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on Friday at Ben Hines Field. 

“I thought that was probably our best game we’ve played so far this year in terms of our at bats,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “Selecting good pitches to swing at early in counts, being patient, getting deep into the counts, having great two-strike battles, getting a lot of two-strikes and early in the count hits, to just using the whole field.”

Six Leopards tallied multi-hit games, with senior outfielder Matthew Diaz and sophomore catcher Nathan Perry each getting three hits during the Leopards’ offensive onslaught. 

La Verne freshman pitcher Niko Urquidi delivers from the mound in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on Friday at Ben Hines Field. Urquidi went 3.2 innings giving up three runs on six hits while striking out five batters. The Leopards won, 12-4. / photo by Jonas Holt
La Verne freshman pitcher Niko Urquidi delivers from the mound in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on Friday at Ben Hines Field. Urquidi went 3.2 innings giving up three runs on six hits while striking out five batters. The Leopards won, 12-4. / photo by Jonas Holt

Freshman left-handed pitcher Niko Urquidi started for the Leopards and pitched a one-two-three inning to start the game and immediately got run support from his offense. 

With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the first inning, the Leopards rallied for four runs on four hits. The two-out rally was capped off with a bases-loaded double into the right-center field gap by sophomore infielder Aidan Salcedo to clear the bases and score three runs. The Leopards led 4-0 after the first inning.

“I was really trying to stay in my approach, going to the middle, trying to keep my hands loose and have some rhythm,” Salcedo said. 

Salcedo was one of the six Leopards to have a multi-hit game. 

Urquidi pitched another clean inning in the top of the second, and the Leopards tacked on another two runs in the bottom half of the inning when Diaz laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third base with one out. Perry then singled into left field to score both runners to make it 6-0 Leopards.

Urquidi ran into some trouble in the top of the third inning, allowing a single, double and then a three-run home run by graduate student second baseman Blake Wink to cut the lead in half at 6-3.

The Leopards tacked on another two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when Diaz singled to score a run and junior outfielder Logan Reese hit a sacrifice fly to score another to extend the lead to 8-3. 

The Kingsmen responded in the top of the fifth inning when junior infielder Josh Quinn hit a solo home run down the left field line, but that was all the Kingsmen would get out of their offense, as they were shut out the rest of the game.

In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the Leopards put up another four runs. Junior outfielder and first baseman Logan Corthell’s second hit of the game scored the first run with an RBI triple that one-hopped the wall in the right-center field gap.

“Honestly, seeing the ball well,” Corthell said about the adjustments he has made in the last couple weeks. “I’ve been swinging a lot of balls and a lot of bad pitches, not in my plan necessarily, so just hunting my pitch and getting after it.”

Sophomore shortstop Ryan Vosika then dropped down a drag bunt that scored Corthell and two batters later, Perry singled up the middle to score a pair of runs to extend the lead to 12-4.

“The way I like to refer to our offense is as a chain reaction, picking each other up, having each other’s back, and I thought we did a good job of that today,” Diaz said. 

Junior left-handed pitcher Ethan Galindo came into the game in the top of the sixth inning and threw three shutout innings, giving up no hits, walking one batter and striking out a pair. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Gabriel Lucero then came in the game in the ninth inning and pitched a scoreless frame to close out the game to give the Leopards a 12-4 victory.

The Leopards finished the series on Monday with a doubleheader and dropped both games, 5-1 and 7-6. They then went to Hope International the next day for a non-conference game and lost, 11-7.

Their record is now 18-9-1 overall and 11-4 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

The next series for the Leopards will be against the Chapman Panthers with a 3 p.m. game on Friday at Hart Park and a doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday at Ben Hines Field. 

Jack Janes can be reached at jack.janes@laverne.edu.

Jack Janes, a senior journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine. He is also a staff photographer for both publications. He previously served as a Campus Times staff writer.

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.

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