WHITTIER, Calif. — Senior Justin Fong went the distance for the fourth time this season for Cal Lutheran, but just could not get the run support needed as the Whittier Poets soured his final regular season outing with a 2-0 loss.
In the first complete game loss for Fong, the southpaw allowed just two runs in eight innings of work while walking one and fanning five. The first run came on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth and the second a solo shot to left in the eighth.
Yet inning after inning, the lefty bared down to work his way out of jams. In the second, he got a little help from senior Trevor Egan who made a diving catch over his shoulder in shallow center to leave the bases loaded. And later, Fong did the work himself to strand two runners in the sixth and seventh with a pop up and grounder right back to himself to retire the sides.
Behind him, however, the offense struggled to get runs on the board, accruing just two hits on the afternoon. Junior Cortez Espinoza got the first knock for the Kingsmen early in the second on a double to right center. Following him, Egan found a hole through the left side for Cal Lutheran's second hit.
The Kingsmen had their opportunities though, including a big one in the sixth. Junior Ryne Yamashiro took a two-out walk to put a man aboard and moved himself into scoring position on an easy steal to second. Sophomore Daniel Parr followed by reaching safely on an error by the shortstop and moved Yamashiro to third. Unfortunately, both runners were left hanging as the momentum never shifted in the Kingsmen's favor.
The loss moves Cal Lutheran to 24-14 on the year and 13-9 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Kingsmen return to Ullman Stadium tomorrow for the final two games of the regular season in an 11 a.m./2 p.m. double header against Whittier.
Be sure to arrive early as the team honors its seven departing seniors – Chris Kovach, Nick Maldonado, Justin Fong, Anthony Sidley, Trevor Egan, Kaden White and Weston Clark – at 10:30 a.m. for senior day.
Box Score: WC 2, CLU 0
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director