THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Nerves ran high at George "Sparky" Anderson Field, as the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen rallied to win both Saturday games over the Redlands Bulldogs – 3-2 and 7-5 – and sweep the conference series.
Down a run in the ninth inning of game one, senior Weston Clark picked the team up with a two-out two-run shot over the right field wall for the 3-2 walk-off win. The momentum continued as a go-ahead triple from sophomore Daniel Parr in the eighth lifted the Kingsmen to a 7-5 game two victory.
Game One: CLU 3, UR 2
The Bulldogs got on the board early in game one behind a two-out solo blast from Andrew Renteria in the first, but the Kingsmen quickly responded with a two out RBI-double from freshman Jalen Parks to knot things up at one apiece in the second.
However, Redlands tagged another run on senior starter Chris Kovach in the fourth to go up 2-1. That would be all the right-hander allowed though as he left the game after 6.1 innings of work, giving up just six hits while walking one and fanning two. Relieving him, junior Troy Frazier closed out the final 2.2 shutout frames with three strikeouts.
Although, still down a run heading into the bottom of the ninth, tension filled Ullman Stadium. A quick flyout and grounder to third soon brought junior Ryne Yamashiro to the plate with two outs, but the designator hitter kept Cal Lutheran alive with a line drive to left.
Next in the order, Clark stepped into the box and brought his count to 1-1. Then, with the bleachers holding their breath, Clark found his pitch and launched a ball over the right field wall to send the stadium into a frenzy and clear the Cal Lutheran dugout.
Game Two: CLU 7, UR 5
The Bulldogs continued to put up a fight in game two, however, roughing up junior Scott Roberts for three runs in the top of the first. The starter settled down from there, though, inducing a double play to end the inning and allowed just one hit through his next six shutout frames.
His offense picked him up as well, putting up a three-spot of their own in the second. Senior Kaden White, Clark and Parr led the inning off with three consecutive singles, followed by a fielder's choice from junior Cortez Espinoza and throwing error by the Redlands shortstop that brought two runs across. Two batters later, senior Trevor Egan singled to left to bring home the tying run.
Tied up at 3-3, the Kingsmen went ahead two runs in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of sacrifice flies from Espinoza and Egan. But once again, the Bulldogs made things interesting, cutting the deficit to one in eighth, forcing head coach Marty Slimak to hand the ball over to junior Christian Slattery with runners on the corners and no outs.
Slattery held on, though, after a tough call at the plate put the tying run on the board on a wild pitch that was recovered by Parks at the backstop and pitched out to Slattery at the plate. He went on, though, to induce three straight flyouts to strand the go-ahead run at third.
Picking him up, the Cal Lutheran offense then came alive again and pushed their lead back out to two in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI-triple from Parr and another sacrifice fly from Espinoza.
Now with the 7-5 lead in the top of the ninth, Slattery took the mound once again to close out the game, but the Bulldogs managed to take advantage of a walk and hit batter to put two base runners on with no outs. Slattery had different plans, however, and fooled Payton Walsh swinging for out one. One pitch later, he forced leadoff hitter Aaron Singh to popup to the second baseman for out two. And clinching the series sweep, he struck out Anthony Acosta swinging for out three.
The double header victories move Cal Lutheran to 23-11 on the year and 12-6 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, tied for second with La Verne in the standings. The team continues their conference battle on Friday, April 26, against the Occidental Tigers at 3 p.m. inside Ullman Stadium.
Highlight Video: Weston Clark's Walk Off Two-Run Homer
Box Score: CLU 3, UR 2; CLU 7, UR 5
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