TUCSON, Ariz. - The No. 20 Cal Lutheran baseball team started the season on a strong note over the weekend, winning two out of three games at the Cactus Classic in Tucson, Ariz. The Kingsmen dropped a close 2-1 decision to Linfield in the season-opener before bouncing back to trounce Pacific (Ore.) 12-0 and edge Sul Ross State 5-4 at the Kino Sports Complex.
LC def. CLU 2-1
In the first game of the year, Linfield edged CLU 2-1 by taking advantage of a pair of costly errors and nine men left on base by the Violet and Gold. After two errors in the fifth allowed the Wildcats to take a 2-0 lead, the Kingsmen had a chance to tie the game and take the lead in the ninth. Max Weinstein led off the inning with a single and came around to score on an RBI base hit from Weston Clark, but CLU stranded runners on second and third to end the game.
Weinstein and Clark led the Kingsmen at the plate, both going 2-for-4, while Nick Cohan and Cheynne Giles, making his CLU debut, added one hit apiece. On the mound, Marshall Pautsch got the start and went 4.2 innings allowing eight hits and just one earned run while striking out four. Jaden Stromire, Miguel Salud and Nate Wehner were strong in relief, combining to strike out six in 3.1 innings.
CLU def. PU 12-0
In the second game of the weekend, the CLU bats came alive. 11 different Kingsmen tallied at least one hit, led by Alec Iniguez, Gabe Gunter, Jimmy Jauregui and Weinstein who notched two apiece. Gunter highlighted a six-run seventh inning with a two-run blast to right-center after CLU put up five runs in the sixth inning.
Trey Saito earned the win after pitching six shutout innings allowing just two hits and striking out two. Salud and Troy Frazier combined for three shutout innings in relief.
CLU def. SR 5-4
In the final game of the weekend, the Kingsmen came away with a one-run victory after playing a little small ball for the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. After Saito singled to lead off the inning and Austin Kay drew a walk, Cohan executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. With runners in scoring position, Iniguez grounded out to first base to bring in Saito for the eventual game-winning run.
Weinstein collected two more hits in the game to give him six through the first three games while Gunter went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Freshman Scott Roberts made his first career start for the Kingsmen and went 4.1 innings while striking out three and allowing four runs. Wehner picked up the win after going four shutout innings of relief with two strikeouts.
Along with Giles, Iniguez, Stromire, Salud, Frazier and Roberts, also making their CLU debuts were Nick Coast, Matt Sciumbato, Ryne Yamashiro and Kaden White.
Cal Lutheran (2-1) begins Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action tomorrow, Feb. 16 at 2:30 against La Verne at Ullman Stadium.
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