TUCSON, Ariz. – Cal Lutheran capped off a perfect weekend in Arizona by using another late offensive surge to defeat Whitman (Wash.) with their 7-2 victory, Sunday morning at Kino Sports Complex. This is the first time in program history the Kingsmen have left Arizona undefeated.
Freshman Kyle Reuser homered for the first time in the Purple and Gold to kickstart a five-run rally in the top of the eighth inning which would ultimately prove to be the difference in the ballgame. He finished his day 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and run scored.
Zach Hardman got the start on the mound and was very solid in his second outing of the season. The junior went five innings allowing two runs on five hits while striking out five. Clay Rickerman would come for a brilliant relief appearance, tossing three innings of hitless ball to earn the win.
After a scoreless first inning, the Kingsmen got to work when Ryne Yamashiro and Daniel Parr led off with a pair of singles. Yamashiro would steal third base and come around to score on an errant throw by the Whitman catcher. Jalen Parks then came through with a productive at-bat, bringing Parr across with a sacrifice fly to give CLU a 2-0 lead.
Reuser came to the plate with the bases empty and one-hopped the wall in left-center field for the first hit of his Cal Lutheran career. Unfortunately, the freshman was left stranded on second base as Whitman ended the threat.
The bats went quiet for the next two innings as neither offense could get anything going at the plate.
Hardman ran into some trouble in the top of the fifth after allowing a pair of singles to start the inning. The Blues eventually tied the score with an infield single and wild pitch, making it 2-2 going into the home half of the inning.
Rickerman was chosen as the next hurler and the right-hander was nothing short of dominant for the next three innings. The Granada Hills, Calif. native had control of all of his pitches and had excellent command of the strike zone, picking up three strikeouts in his spotless outing.
Zeroes would occupy the scoreboard in the sixth and seventh frames before Cal Lutheran broke things open in the eighth.
The Kingsmen had worked to finally get Whitman starting pitcher Matthew Sox out of the game and the Blues were forced to go into the bullpen. Reuser stepped up when the team needed him most, blasting a no-doubt home run to left field to give CLU the lead.
The floodgates would open as Harrison Dunkel singled and Tanner Wright got hit by a pitch to set the table. Daniel Stauffer then laid down a perfectly-placed bunt to land himself on first base and load the bases with no outs. Probst tapped a ball to third base and reached base to extend the lead and keep the rally going.
A sacrifice fly from Parr made it a three-run lead, but Scalzo finally put the game out of reach with his bases-clearing triple that scored Probst and Stauffer.
Christian Slattery cruised through the final inning, racking up a couple strikeouts in his one inning of work.
CLU begins Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play next weekend when they host Caltech on Feb. 14 at 2:30 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 7, WC 2
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director