The Cal Lutheran Kingsmen swept the Leopards in a three-game series, concluding the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season Friday and Saturday.
Cal Lutheran started the weekend off with a win on Friday.
The Kingsmen opened up the game with back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the first inning, putting La Verne behind and resulting with a loss with a final score of 11-2.
“I think we really struggled to play our brand of baseball,” assistant coach Daniel Soriano said. “We got good enough pitching from both pitchers to win both games, but our hitting just struggled all weekend and I think that was tough to overcome.”
The Leopards played against a first seed SCIAC team and were unable to deliver the results that the coaches were hoping for.
“It was disappointing, but we’re not disappointed in our players,” Soriano said. “We’re just disappointed in the results were getting on the field.”
The Leopards were outhit by the Kingsmen in both games of the doubleheader.
La Verne started off the first game with an early lead in the second inning.
Sophomore centerfielder Nolan Henley had a two-RBI single, scoring junior left fielder Tyler Watkins and senior right fielder Josh Surdo.
Henley stole second and scored on a throwing error by Cal Lutheran senior shortstop Nicho DellaValle with senior second baseman George Hanna at the plate.
Sophomore first baseman Ben White added to the Leopards lead, hitting the only home run in the bottom of the fifth advancing La Verne to a 4-0 advantage.
White went 3-for-5 in the game.
The game started falling apart for the Leopards in the top of the eighth inning after the Kingsmen came back and scored seven runs.
“We put some runs on the board, the pitcher was pitching great, we played good defense, we had good at bats, and we took it all the way to the eighth inning and we really had control of the game and then it fell apart,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “You gotta give Cal Lu some credit though, they hit the ball in that inning and capitalized on our mistakes and it became too big of a deficit.”
Cal Lutheran started game two with an early lead, forcing the Leopards to play a game of catch up throughout the rest of the match.
This resulted in a La Verne loss, with a final score of 10-3.
The Kingsmen scored two runs on an error by the Leopards in the first.
But La Verne answered by a single down the left side by senior catcher Joe Winterburn, allowing Hanna to score.
The Leopards two other runs were scored in the bottom of the ninth.
Junior shortstop Jared Hovsepian singled up the middle, allowing junior left fielder Mark Jebbia to score.
Freshman center fielder Ashton Edior singled to right center, scoring George Holland.
“I got in in the eighth inning when we were on defense,” Edior said. “I didn’t get any balls in the outfield at all, but I got one at bat in the last inning and I got a little dupe single and I got an RBI out of it so I guess that at bat turned out okay.”
The results left La Verne with a record of 11-12 in the SCIAC.
“We’re in the hunt regardless of what happened this weekend. It’s not how we wanted it, it doesn’t feel good but were in the hunt,” Winterburn said. “There’s three teams at 12 and 12 and were 11 and 12, we’re right there so there’s three teams fighting for that fourth spot right now and we got four games to crawl over the other two.”
After Caltech forfeited the still unscheduled make-up game against La Verne, the Leopards added on a win and moved up to a 12-12 position locking in the fifth seed for the SCIAC Red Robin games this weekend.
The Leopards will face seventh seed Pomona-Pitzer and third seed Whittier in their first set of round robin games Saturday at Ben Hines Field beginning at 11 a.m.
“I think we just gotta have a great week of practice with good focus and basically work on our detail,” Watkins said. “Work on our technique and make sure we perfect it going into the next week’s games.”
Kat Simonelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.