Pitching Gems Lead to Sweep of Leopards
CLU wins 4-2, 7-1 over La Verne
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – After relying on its offensive prowess for much of its current 14 game winning streak, the No. 7 Cal Lutheran baseball team received a pair of pitching gems Saturday afternoon as they swept Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic (SCIAC) foe La Verne 4-2, and 7-1 at Ullman Stadium. Cal Lutheran’s two starting pitchers, Tyler Hebda and Scott Peters, combined to pitch 14.2 innings while yielding just three runs. With the sweep, Cal Lutheran officially locked up the No. 1 seed heading into SCIAC pool play beginning next week.
A night after stranding five runners at third base, Spencer DuBois got Cal Lutheran on the board first in the bottom of the second inning with a two-out two-run single, scoring Nick Boggan and Nick DeLorenzo.
Hedba cruised through the first five innings, scattering four hits and striking out two while allowing just one Leopard runner to advance past second base.
Jake Petersen led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice from Nicho DellaValle and moved to third on a single from Trevor Koons. Boggan, who last weekend became CLU’s career RBI record holder, drove home the third run of the game when he singled through the right side, plating Petersen.
Hebda loaded the bases in the top of the sixth but battled from a 3-0 count to strikeout Jason Moralez looking for the second out of the inning. He then gave way to Aaron Roth who gave up an RBI single on a tough hop over Boggan’s head at first but Nicholas Bergara, who trying to score from first, was cut down at the plate and kept the score 3-2.
With runners on the corners Roth got out of some trouble in the top of the seventh when La Verne tried an early steal play but the junior recognized it in time and got the runner at third out in a run down, preserving the 3-2 lead.
Cal Lutheran immediately responded in the bottom of the inning when Petersen laced a triple into left-center. A batter later, Koons ripped his second hit of the game back up the middle for an RBI single.
Roth would close out the final two innings as the Kingsmen secured their 13th straight win.
Boggan led the way offensively, going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, his 53rd of the season. DuBois, Koons and Garrett Smith all had two hits to round out the offense for CLU.
Hebda (7-2) earned the win after pitching 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits. Roth (4-1) earned the save, pitching the final 3.1 innings including three strikeouts.
Sean Beckman (6-2) suffered the loss, giving up four runs on 10 hits in 6.2 innings of work.
Michael Reyes had three hits to lead the Leopards at the plate.
Peters got the start on the mound in game two for the Kingsmen and was in control from the get-go, allowing just four hits through five innings.
La Verne’s starting pitcher Phil Shick was equally impressive, holding the Kingsmen to three hits through the first four innings.
The Kingsmen finally got to Shick in the bottom of the fifth when Smith led off with a single, DellaValle walked, and both came in on a double from Koons. CLU extended its lead a batter later when DeLorenzo slapped his team-leading 17th double of the season and drove in Koons. Boggan, who was hustling from first base, was initally held at third before the relay throw got away from the La Verne second baseman and he came home for the fourth run of the inning.
Cal Lutheran struck again the following inning when Petersen reached on a Leopard error with two outs and DellaValle drove him with a double into the right center gap, extending the lead to 5-0.
Peters hit two batters to start the seventh inning but battled back to get a fly out and then a 5-4-3 double play to get out of the inning unscathed.
The Kingsmen tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth when Petersen scored on a wild pitch and Boggan drove in DellaValle on an RBI single.
Peters (7-0) missed a shutout by one out, giving up a controversial inside-the-park homerun to Bergara. Before that, Peters hadn’t allowed a hit since the fourth inning. Ultimately, the sophomore was able to close it out for the first complete game of his career. Peters was able to keep the Leopards off balance all game, inducing 17 ground ball outs.
Petersen was CLU’s leader at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. DellaValle, the SCIAC’s leader in hits was 2-for-3 with two runs scored as well.
Shick (4-5) suffered the loss after going six innings and allowing five runs on seven hits.
Bergara was the lone Leopard with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with the homerun.
Cal Lutheran (28-6-1, 21-3 SCIAC) will unofficially play Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Wednesday, April 24, in the first round of pool-play. The official pool-play bracket will be released on Sunday.