The baseball team split a Saturday afternoon doubleheader against Chapman at Mazmanian Field of Mt. San Antonio College, losing 11-3 in the first game before taking the second, 4-1.
The Panthers matched a season high scoring 11 runs on 14 hits in a dominating offensive performance in game one.
Chapman jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind a three run home run from junior infielder Mark Saatzer.
“Whatever bad could possibly happen did happen,” head coach Scott Winterburn said.
The Leopards would quickly respond with a first inning rally of their own. A two-run RBI double by junior infielder George Hanna and an RBI single from senior first baseman Michael Stewart tied the game, 3-3. The Panthers would regain the lead 4-3 after a towering solo home run by senior outfielder Tyler Surnbrock in the fourth.
Chapman would score four runs in fifth capped off by a two-run RBI double from freshman third baseman John Wiehe to lead 8-3. The Panthers would tally three more runs in eighth and hold on for the victory.
“We didn’t pitch very well and didn’t execute on offense,” Winterburn said.
Hanna batted 1-fo-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. Stewart went 2-for-3 from the plate with an RBI for the Leopards in the losing effort.
Saatzer drove in five RBIs hitting 1-for-3 with one run scored and a walk for the Panthers.
In game two, Leopards’ junior starter Phil Schick set the tone pitching six scoreless innings registering only three hits.
“We got a great tempo from Phil,” Winterburn said. “His composure was an A-plus.”
Schick struck out nine batters to add to his outstanding day on the mound.
“He was locating his fastball,” Leopards’ junior catcher Jason Moralez said. “He was getting ahead of hitters early in the count.”
Schick received help from his teammates. Seniors Mason Stoltenberg and Cody Hazel drove in one RBI each. RBIs from the bats of freshmen Nolan Henley and Michael Reyes provided Schick with a four run lead in the fifth inning, leading to the 4-1 victory for La Verne. The only Panther run came as a result of a Leopard error in the eighth inning.
“We put together some tough at-bats,” Moralez said.
Sophomore Javi Iniguez and freshman Brett Early combined for three innings of relief work for the Leopards. Schick is now 1-1 on the year and Early recorded his first save of the season.
“We try and emphasize a solid fundamental approach as a team,” Winterburn said. “We implement things in a game from practice.”
Schick stressed a key point in order for the Leopards to be successful this year.
“We need more of a killer instinct,” Schick said. “We need to be the aggressor and attack.”
With the split, the Leopards are now 3-3 in SCIAC play and 6-4 overall. Chapman is 4-2 in conference and 5-6 overall.
The Leopards’ play a doubleheader at 11 a.m. against Caltech starting Saturday at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at email@example.com.