The baseball team won Saturday’s doubleheader against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Arce Field. The Leopards’ timely offense was the reason for the game-one win, 8-2, before taking the second, 8-7.
“We just got some base runners, we got some hits and capitalized on our opportunities,” senior outfielder Dylan Leong said.
With the score tied 2-2 in game one, the Leopards exploded for six runs on five hits in the seventh inning to gain the 8-2 lead.
The offensive onslaught was highlighted by back-to-back RBI singles from shortstop George Hanna and first baseman Michael Stewart. La Verne also scored due to two Stag errors in the inning.
“When we hit like that it puts the pressure on them and takes the pressure off us,” Leong said.
Maybe the Leopards were extra motivated because spring break just started. Maybe they just came ready to play.
The Leopards had a balanced pitching effort in game one. Senior Christian Grossi started the game going only 2.3 innings, giving up one earned run on three hits. Sophomore Sean Beckman and senior J.C. Barcelo combined for 6.1 innings of relief for the Leopards.
Beckman earned his fourth win and Barcelo recorded his first save of the season.
The Stags had the first big hit in game two scoring four runs in the second inning. The inning was capped off by a bases clearing double from junior first baseman Brett Watanabe to give the Stags a 5-1 lead.
Watanabe went 2-for-3 with two walks and was responsible for five of the seven Stag runs.
The Leopards wouldn’t go quietly. With the score 5-2 in the fourth inning freshman outfielder Nolan Henley blasted a three-run home run to tie the game.
“I was constantly making adjustments during the at-bat,” Henley said. “All I needed to do was square up and hit one.”
Sophomore third baseman Pedro Espinoza hit the go-ahead single in the fifth inning to give La Verne a 6-5 lead. Both teams tallied two more runs in the sixth inning leading to the Leopards’ victory, 8-7.
Junior pitcher Phil Schick pitched 7.2 innings giving up seven earned on 11 hits. Though Schick didn’t have his best game on the mound, it was enough to get his team the win.
“Today, Phil Schick just battled,” Leopards’ head coach Scott Winterburn said. “He kept his team in the game and did what he needed to do.”
Schick earned his third win of the season. Barcelo went 1.1 innings to get his second save on the season and of the day.
The Leopards took two out of three in the weekend series with the Stags.
La Verne’s only loss came Friday at Mt. San Antonio College, 5-2.
“We can’t play sloppy,” Henley said. “We need to play more aggressively.”
“If we play at the level we practice at, we will be fine,” Winterburn said.
La Verne is now 14-7 on the season and 8-4 in conference play, and is third in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Stags fell to 3-17 overall and 2-13 in SCIAC play.
The Leopards will now take on Pomona-Pitzer, who is second in SCIAC, at 3 p.m. Friday at Pomona-Pitzer.
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at email@example.com.