THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - For the sixth consecutive game, the No. 21 Cal Lutheran baseball team rallied from a deficit for a dramatic victory, earning its second walk-off win in those six games with an 8-7 thriller over No. 24 Chapman at Ullman Stadium on Friday afternoon.
With the win, the Kingsmen have now won nine straight games and have nine comeback victories overall this season.
After trailing by as many as five runs early on, CLU benefited from five Panthers errors to get back into the game. Two costly errors in the fourth inning alone allowed the Kingsmen to cut the Chapman lead to one, 5-4.
A Panthers sacrifice fly in the sixth gave the visiting team a two-run cushion, but a Gabe Gunter RBI single in the sixth made it a one-run game once again at 6-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jimmy Jauregui led off the inning with a deep double to the wall in centerfield and came around to tie the game on a Cheynne Giles single. Later in the inning with Giles on third, an errant pickoff attempt allowed the go-ahead run to score and put CLU ahead 7-6.
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Chapman pieced together a rally to bring home the tying run and set the stage for another dramatic finish for the Kingsmen.
Jauregui led off the bottom half of the frame with a walk and reached second on a perfectly executed sac bunt by pinch hitter Alec Iniguez. Cortez Espinoza came in to run for Jauregui and raced home for the win on a Brad Fullerton line drive single to right field.
Marshall Pautsch started on the mound and earned a no-decision after tossing 5.2 innings and scattering 11 hits while allowing five runs and striking out eight. Troy Frazier pitched 2.1 solid innings of relief tallying three strikeouts while Miguel Salud (3-1) picked up the win after pitching the ninth.
Max Weinstein and Gunter led the Violet and Gold with two hits apiece and Giles was instrumental at the dish as well with two RBIs and two runs.
Cal Lutheran (16-6, 8-5 SCIAC) continues the series with Chapman tomorrow, Apr. 1 on the road with a doubleheader beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Box Score: CLU 8, CU 7
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