ORANGE, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran Kingsmen are headed for championship Sunday of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament after sending home No. 2 La Verne with a 5-1 victory, Saturday night. They now rematch No. 1 Chapman at 11 a.m., tomorrow, at W.O. Hart Park in Orange, California.
Leading the way, sophomore Scott Roberts allowed just one run on four hits in eight innings of work, while punching out five in his longest outing of the year. After opening the contest by fooling La Verne's leadoff hitter swinging, he settled in to pitch five shutout innings, giving up just the lone run on an RBI-double from Adam Santa Cruz in the sixth.
On the other hand, Cal Lutheran roughed up the Leopards early, tacking on three runs in the top of the first alone. Junior Cortez Espinoza got things started with a sharp singe to second base, then back to back singles by junior Ryne Yamashiro and sophomore Daniel Parr loaded the bases with one out for senior Weston Clark.
The first baseman did them justice with a single to left for the first run, senior Anthony Sidley followed with a fielder's choice-RBI, and a fielding error by the second baseman put junior Daniel Stauffer on first safely and allowed Parr to score from third.
Up 3-0 the team added a few more insurance runs with a sacrifice bunt by senior Trevor Egan in the fourth and fielder's choice-RBI by Stauffer in the sixth. And though La Verne took a run back in the sixth, the defense aided Roberts by making plays look easy all evening long – including a base-hit robbery by Yamashiro in the fourth, jumping waist-high and holding on as he fell on his back for the out.
Leading 5-1 in the bottom of the ninth, senior Christian Slattery got hearts racing with the final three outs of the night. After taking a comebacker to the glove and recovering to get the out at first, the closer put two runners on with a full-count hit by pitch and consecutive walk.
However, he held on, getting a fly out to left for out two. Then, with the count full once again, he retired the side with a big strikeout to knock the Leopards out of the tournament.
No. 4 Cal Lutheran now returns to W.O. Hart Park at 11 a.m. tomorrow for a rematch against No. 1 Chapman. If the team takes the victory over the Panthers in the first game of the day, the Kingsmen will face off against Chapman once again 30 minutes for the SCIAC crown.
Game Four: No. 1 Chapman vs. No. 4 Cal Lutehran
Sunday, May 12, 2019 | 11 a.m. PT
W.O. Hart Park | Orange, California
Watch | Live Stats
Box Score: CLU 5, LV 1
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director