Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Bats came alive Friday afternoon as the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen dominated the Whittier Poets 13-3. Nate Wehner got the win and fanned nine in a near complete game as every member of his offense notched a RBI.
Five Kingsmen finished with multi-hit games as the team collected 17 total hits on the afternoon. Cortez Espinoza led the offense, finishing 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and a RBI. Cheynne Giles added two doubles of his own on a 2-for-3 day with two runs and three RBI. Tanner Wright (3-for-4), Alec Iniguez (2-for-3) and Max Weinstein (2-for-4) round out the multi-hit group.
Wehner commanded the mound all afternoon, striking out the side in the first, all swinging, to start the game. He continued to pitch two more perfect innings before allowing the Poets two runs in the top of the fourth and worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam to hold on to the lead. Though Whittier tacked on a late run in the seventh, Wehner had secured the victory. He finished with just three earned runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of work with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Behind him, the Kingsmen opened scoring early in the first with three consecutive singles toward centerfield from the top of the lineup – Wright, Iniguez and Weinstein. Ryne Yamashiro followed up with a ball to the shortstop, reaching on a fielder's choice and allowing Wright to score. Anthony Sidley then knocked one to centerfield for the sacrifice fly, bringing home Iniguez.
Two innings later, Kaden White hit a RBI-single to left followed by a double from Giles to bring him all the way around. Although, the Poets answered with two runs, the Kingsmen pushed their lead out to 6-2 in the fourth after a leadoff double by Espinoza. Back-to-back singles from Wright and Iniguez brought home Espinoza and Weinstein's sacrifice fly scored Wright.
Cal Lutheran was not finished yet, though, as Whittier's starter Alex Baez allowed leadoff walks to White and Giles to start the fifth. The Poets then turned to reliever Will Reader, who opened with a RBI-single to Daniel Parr and consecutive sacrifice flies to Wright and Iniguez.
With a 9-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Kingsmen looked to shut down the afternoon early on the mercy rule which states that if a team is leading by ten or more runs after seven innings, the game may be called early. Giles, Espinoza and Wright took it personally and contributed a double apiece to make it a 13-2 ballgame.
The Poets managed a small rebuttal in the seventh off a RBI-single to left from Michael Angulo as Wehner began to lose some control from the mound. With two outs and looking to avoid losing the ten-run lead, head coach Marty Slimak turned the ball over to Jeff Rebello who secured the early win with a groundout to short.
The victory moves Cal Lutheran to 17-12 on the season and 7-9 in SCIAC play. The Kingsmen face off against the Whitter Poets again tomorrow in Whittier, Calif., in games two and three of the series. Game times are set for 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. PST.
Box Score: CLU 13, WC 3
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director