THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — For the first time this year, the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen dropped game one of a conference series, falling 7-0 to the La Verne Leopards, Friday afternoon. Though juniors Ryan Probst and Chris Spohr each notched multi-hit afternoons, the offense struggled to bring a man across home plate.
On the bump for the Kingsmen, senior Justin Fong takes just his first loss on the season, moving to 5-1 on the year. He gave up seven runs on 12 hits in 7.1 innings of work while fanning three and walking none. Replacing him in the eighth, sophomore Clay Rickerman allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings to close the game and give the offense a chance to put runs up on the board.
However, Cal Lutheran struggled to tally RBIs, leaving 11 men on base, five in scoring position. The Kingsmen's first opportunity came early in the first with a single through the left side by Probst followed by a two-base error that allowed junior Stauffer to reach safely and moved both runners into scoring position.
The team did it again in the seventh with back-to-back singles from Sciumbato and Spohr to put runners on the corners, and once again on consecutive hits by Spohr and Briggs in the ninth, but left each time without a run.
On the other hand, La Verne rallied behind seven innings of shutout baseball from starter Cody Norman, putting up seven runs on 13 hits and two errors by the Kingsmen, including a two-run homer by Adam Santa Cruz in the third.
The loss moved Cal Lutheran to 18-7 overall and 9-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Kingsmen return to the field tomorrow in La Verne, California, at 11 a.m. for a double header against La Verne, looking for their fifth conference series victory.
Box Score: LV 7, CLU 0
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director