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Leopards put Sagehens back into coop

Senior outfielder Donovan Petta is caught between second and third base, as La Verne takes on Pomona-Pitzer in a doubleheader on March 5. While Petta was eventually tagged out, he managed to bring in three runs for the Leopards with his hit to left field. The Leopards beat the Sagehens in both games, 9-4 in the first and 4-1 in the second. / photo by Warren Bessant

Cheryl Regan
Staff Writer

After a disappointing loss to Pomona-Pitzer on Friday, the Leopards came back with two big wins against the Sagehens in a doubleheader last Saturday with a score of 9-4 in the first game, and 4-1 in the second game.

On Friday, the Leopards lost 4-3 after giving up a walk-off home run to sophomore designated hitter Nick Gentili.

“We were really excited to come back today after a tough loss on Friday,” head coach Scott Winterburn said.

The Leopards went into the first game with an early three run lead.

Senior shortstop Sergio Muñoz started the second with a double to right center field.

Then with the bases loaded, junior first baseman Ross Hebert was hit by a pitch that scored the third run of the game.

Starting pitcher, senior Matt Baudino, held the Sagehens to only three hits and no runs in seven innings.

“We played our game, and when we do that we come out on top,” Baudino said.

La Verne increased its lead to 5-0, scoring one in the third and one in the fifth.

In the top of the seventh, Pomona-Pitzer had the bases loaded with one out. La Verne brought in junior pitcher Sean Fasig.

Pomona-Pitzer came back in the game with four runs in the seventh to make the score 5-4 with the Leopards still on top.

In the bottom of the seventh, junior Jake Ludvik hit a two-run home run to centerfield to increase the Leopards’ lead to 7-4.

La Verne got two more runs in the eighth with a two-run home run by sophomore Cody Hazel to end the game with a 9-4 victory.

“We should have beat them by a lot more, but luckily our bats came through in the end,” Ludvik said. “We need to play hard, have good pitching and good defense for the second game. We need to execute.”

About 30 minutes after the first game ended, after the players ate lunch and got the field ready for game two, the Leopards were on their way to sweep the Sagehens.

The second game started off with Pomona-Pitzer taking a 1-0 lead in the first.

The score stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth when the Leopards tied it up.

Junior starting pitcher Nathan Rollon pitched through six innings, holding Pomona-Pitzer to only one run while he was on the mound.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Leopards came in strong with three runs that brought their lead to 4-1.

The bases were loaded when senior Donovan Petta hit a double down the third base line that brought home all three runners.

Freshman pitcher Brian Tuttle came into the game in the sixth inning and closed the deal with a strike out for the last out in the ninth to end the game and give La Verne the win.

“This was a good way to end the series,” Tuttle said. “We struggled in the beginning, but the big hit by Donovan was huge.”

“This was a total team win,” Winterburn said. “We started and ended in pitching and did a good job.”

La Verne currently finds itself in fourth place, three games behind first place Redlands (9-3), with an overall record of 9-7 and a conference record of 6-3.

The Leopards take on Occidental at 2:30 p.m. today at Ben Hines Field.

The Leopards will then go on the road for a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Occidental.

Cheryl Regan can be reached at cheryl.regan@laverne.edu.

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