Men go 3-3 at home tournament

Campus Times
March 23, 2001

photo by Vicky Martinez

The University of La Verne baseball team hosted the California Invitational last weekend at Ben Hines Field. ULV won three of the six games played. Junior A.J. Garbick, ULV's catcher, went to bat twice during the game against Linfield College from Oregon. This was the final game of the tournament which ended 5-2 in favor of Linfield.

by Amanda Stutevoss
Staff Writer

For the University of La Verne baseball team, last weekend's competition at the California Invitational brought the best of times and the worst of times as the Leopards finished 3-3.

The Leopards faced Pacific University in game one Friday. Senior pitcher, Ruben Del Castillo, was on the mound for the Leopards. The game remained scoreless through three, and then Pacific's bats came alive in the top of the fourth to score one run. The Boxers then held the Leopards and scored two more runs in the top of the fifth. But La Verne answered back.

ULV started a rally in the bottom of the fifth after junior Matt Myer singled. ULV scored four runs off of three hits and three errors in the fifth. The Leopards held Pacific in the top of the sixth, as junior pitcher Brian Grimm came in and shut the Boxers down the rest of the game. The Leopards scored one more run in the bottom of the inning, to make the score 5-3, and gain their first win in the tournament.

The Leopards second game showed their offensive talent against North Central College from Illinois. Offensive standout senior Nate Devine went 4-for-4 at the plate with two triples.

The Leopards started off the game in the top of the first by scoring four runs. ULV's starting pitcher, senior Jon Cruz, stayed strong until the bottom of the third.

Cruz walked the first batter, North Central's Frank Deangelis, who stole second on the following pitch. Deangelis was advanced to third on a ground ball back to the pitcher. The Cardinals Ken Kamin grounded out to second base, scoring Deangelis. North Central came out the next inning and sat the Leopards down after three batters.

The Cardinals had a big inning in the bottom of the fourth when they scored three runs off of three hits and one error.

The Leopards did not give up and in the top of the fifth, senior Matt Cresto led off and was hit by a pitch. Myer then stepped up at the plate with a single, advancing Cresto, who was thrown out at third trying to take an extra base, leaving Myer at first. Devine then came up with a triple that would score Myer and put the Leopards back on top by one run.

Another run would not come for either team until the top of the seventh. La Verne's sophomore Todd Farrell led off with a walk, Cresto was hit by a pitch, and Myer singled to load the bases. Devine stepped to the plate and tripled again scoring three runs putting the Leopards on top by four.

The Cardinals again answered back with two hits scoring three runs, but they came up one run short, giving the Leopards their second victory of the day with a final score of 8-7.

Saturday's competition brought Willamette University from Oregon in game one. Junior Gil Hernandez was on the mound, and his pitching carried the Leopards through the game.

"Our offense was struggling, I wasn't at my best, but only allowing two runs should get it done," said Hernandez. "Gil gave us innings on the mound. He stepped up and kept us in the game," said coach Scott Winterburn.

Willamette's pitcher junior Justin Brown had ten strikeouts in the game, and only allowed two hits. Coach Winterburn attributes the loss to lack of offense.

"You aren't going to win a game with only two hits unless the other team only has one," said Winterburn.

Game two on Saturday was against University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. The Leopard's bats were hot; scoring 13 runs total in the game. Offensive standouts were senior Eric Garma going 3-for-4 with two RBI's, sophomore Todd Farrell going 2-for-3, and sophomore John Doak going 1-for-4 with five RBI's. ULV's defense was led by strong pitching from junior Bill Baldry. The Leopards defeated UMass Darmouth by a final score of 13-6.

The Leopards most impressive pitching performance was against Eastern Connecticut State University on Sunday when freshman Scott Lindeen put on a show. The Leopards were shut down offensively, however. ULV had only one hit the entire game by Farrell, in the bottom of the third.

"I struggled in the first couple of innings, and then I was getting them to hit groundballs, and I had a solid defense behind me," said Lindeen.

La Verne's performance against the Eastern Connecticut State Warriors turned heads regardless of the loss. The Warriors were the 1998 NCAA Division III National Champions and still have a very strong program.

"That game was the best that Lindeen has pitched, and we needed that," said Winterburn.

The Leopards finished a par performance on Sunday in game six of the tournament when they lost to Linfield College, 5-2. Devine started the game on the mound and lasted through six giving up three runs to Linfield. Grimm came in to close the game for the Leopards. This was only Grimm's third appearance this year, after being plagued with weak rotater cuff muscles in his shoulder that sat him out for the first 10 games.

"I think that we have got to put it all together at once, pitching, defense and hitting," said Grimm.

"Grimm stepped up-he threw a lot of strikes and gave us a good performance. He has done a great job taking over the bullpen role," said Winterburn.

The Leopards were not disappointed with the weekend as a whole. "Last weekend was a great practicum and a learning experience. It gave us a birds eye view of what regionals and nationals are all about," said Winterburn.

The Leopards open up conference today at 2:30 p.m. against Claremont Mudd-Scripps on Ben Hines Field.