THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A little rain could not cool off the Kingsmen bats as Cal Lutheran notched 22 hits in route to a 20-3 victory over the Drew Rangers. Led by sophomore Tanner Wright, freshman Sean Blandino and junior Ryan Probst, the offense put up a massive outing at the plate for the team's ninth win of the year.
Lead-off hitter Wright went 4-for-4 in just four innings while contributing three RBI and three runs, including two-run double in the bottom of the second. Also with four hits, freshman outfielder Blandino went 4-for-6 with two RBI in his first home start. Rounding out the afternoon's top hitters, junior transfer Probst was perfect at the plate, going 5-for-5 with two doubles, three runs and three RBI of his own.
As a whole, the team went 22-for-43 at the plate (.512) – their best offensive outing of the season – while working nine walks and striking out just twice against eight different Drew pitchers. In total, 10 Kingsmen tallied a hit and 11 sent a man home.
Sophomore Nick Rhoades and Wright broke the ice early with a double and triple, respectively, to put the team 4-0 after just two innings. Cal Lutheran followed by leading off the next frame with six consecutive walks followed by a trio of singles, wild pitch and fielder's choice to put up an eight-spot in the third inning.
Surging 12-0, the Rangers sandwiched two runs around Blandino's RBI single in the fourth to make it a 13-2 ballgame heading into the sixth. However, RBIs from junior Daniel Stauffer, sophomore Zach Bullard, Probst and junior Cole Cooper across the next three innings extended the gap to 20-2 heading into the final stretch. And though Drew tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, the deficit was far too deep to climb out of as the Kingsmen cruised to a 20-3 victory.
Thankful for the run-support, Cal Lutheran threw five pitchers on the mound. Senior Chris Kovach got the nod, allowed just one earned run on four hits while walking one and punching out four in four innings of work. Following him, sophomore Clay Rickerman, senior Nick Maldonado, freshman Alexander Rivas and freshman Noah Kang-Matias pitched five innings of five-hit ball to close out the game.
The win moves the team to 9-2 overall and extends the win streak to five games. Cal Lutheran returns to George "Sparky" Anderson Field on Thursday, March 7, at 2:30 p.m. against the Greensboro Pride.
Box Score: CLU 20, DREW 3
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director