Kingsmen Sweep Leopards; Take Back First Place
CLU wins 7-4, 10-2
LA VERNE, Calif. – Trailing by four runs in the top of the eighth inning of game one, Cal Lutheran erupted for seven runs and topped La Verne 7-4. In the nightcap, the Kingsmen used a five-run seventh inning to break open the game and win 10-3 Saturday while locking up the No. 1 seed headed into Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Round Robin play. It marks the second straight season the Kingsmen own the best league recorded headed into to the Round Robin portion of the schedule.
With Cal Lutheran, Chapman and Whittier all fighting for first place, it was the Kingsmen's opponent, La Verne, that dominated through the first seven innings. The Leopards took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second with a two-run single from Nolan Henley and then later an unearned run on a Kingsmen error.
Cal Lutheran had runners reach in each of the first three innings including a double from Collin Crowl and a triple from Craig Jacobson but La Verne starting pitcher Mark Jebbia would keep off the Kingsmen off the board by getting a fly out to end the third and one of his 10 strikeouts to complete the fourth.
La Verne tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth and got to within six outs of winning the game before the Kingsmen staged their comeback. Spencer DuBois led off the inning with a single up the middle and then Sinjin Todd walked. The La Verne catcher then tried to back pick Todd at first but the throw got away and allowed the runners to advance to second and third. Nicho DellaValle walked to the load the bases and then Jake Petersen smacked an RBI-base hit to get CLU its first run. Two batters later, Crowl was awarded an RBI and first base after his swing nicked the catcher’s glove for a catcher interference call. Davey Casciola got CLU to within a run when he coaxed a bases-loaded walk and then Gabe Gunter delivered a pinch-hit go-ahead two-run single, putting CLU up 5-4. Nico Filice followed that with a sacrifice fly and then DuBois notched his second hit of the inning when he tripled into right center, scoring Gunter.
Landry Kiyabu (3-0) earned the win, throwing a scoreless seventh inning. CLU closer Aaron Roth pitched the final two innings for his ninth save of the season, not allowing a hit while striking out four.
In game two, Cal Lutheran grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first when DellaValle and Petersen hit back-to-back doubles. On Petersen’s double, the throw from the right fielder got away from the third baseman and allowed the senior to come all the way home.
The Leopards would get a run back in the bottom of the first but CLU starting pitcher Scott Peters (5-3) would dominate the rest of the way, finishing with 8.0 innings work including just one earned run, a walk and five strikeouts.
With Peters dealing, Cal Lutheran a run in the third and five more in the seventh. Highlighting the big inning was a two-RBI base hit from Ramsey Abushahla and a two-run double from Gunter.
The Kingsmen would score two more runs in the top of the ninth to ensure its fifth straight win.
Leading the way at the plate was Petersen, who went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI. Abushahla had two hits and three RBIs while DellaValle had two hits as well.
Cal Lutheran (27-8, 18-6 SCIAC) will play at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Wednesday, April 23, in the first game of the Round Robin. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
Game 1 Box Score: CLU 7 ULV 4
Game 2 Box Score: CLU 10 ULV 3
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
Follow Nicho: @CLUBaseball
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#