Pitching five and a third innings in the first game Ryan Rose struck out four of the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs. The Leopards took the first win over the Bulldogs, 4-3 and was again victorious in the second game, 14-6. The doubleheader was played Friday at Ben Hines Field.
The University of La Verne baseball team swept both games of their doubleheader last Friday when it hosted Texas Lutheran at Ben Hines Field.
The Leopards won game one, 4-3, and game two, 14-6.
ULV made few errors and seemed to make more big plays than TLU.
“In practice all week we worked on executions, bunting, moving runners and scoring when we have runners in scoring position,” senior designated hitter Scott Marcus said.
Game one was filled with great pitching and sound defensive plays by both teams.
ULV got down early when in the second inning TLU’s Joe Gentry hit a triple that drove in all three baserunners to get the Bulldogs off to a 3-0 lead.
Despite this mishap in the second inning, senior pitcher Ryan Rose had another solid performance, striking out four and allowing only three hits.
The Leopards answered back scoring two runs in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to one run.
ULV had another productive inning in the fifth, when sophomore first baseman Jon-Michael Hattabaugh belted a two-run home run to left center field that put the Leopards up for good 4-3.
“This early in the season we’re just trying to figure out the combinations that work the best for us, and keep doing the things that we practice,” head coach Scott Winterburn said.
With the win, the Leopards improved their record to 3-3.
Rose got his second win of the season, and sophomore pitcher Grant Wheatley got his second save of the season. Wheatley was dominant, striking out three of the four batters he faced.
In game two of their doubleheader, the Leopards showed up their opponents with lots of hits and scoring.
After trailing 1-0, ULV came back in the third inning to put up five runs and take a 5-1 lead.
The Leopards never relinquished their lead, scoring four runs in an exciting fourth inning that was capped off by senior catcher Ryan Jordan’s three-run home run.
In the fifth inning it was Marcus who went deep, hitting a three-run home run to give ULV a commanding 12-4 lead.
“I basically just took advantage of a good pitch and hit it,” Marcus said. “Our team worked hard throughout fall, and our game plans and teamwork helped us to produce runs.”
The Bulldogs battled back, scoring one run in both the sixth and seventh innings, but it would not be enough to catch the Leopards.
Junior pitcher Jesse Sweet earned his first win of the season, pitching five innings, striking out four batters and allowing only one earned run.
Sweet was provided much run support by his offense.
Senior shortstop Jack Mehl, who currently leads his team with 13 hits on the season, batted 4-for-5 in the game, while Marcus, Jordan and sophomore center fielder Demetri Mondotte collected three RBIs a piece.
“Putting everything together has been our biggest challenge this season; with conference coming up, we’ll be ready to go,” Wheatley said.
“We haven’t reached our potential and we’re not where we need to be yet, but with these tough games coming up against one of the better SCIAC opponents, we’ll need to find ways to win,” Winterburn said.
The Leopards begin conference play today at 2:30 p.m. when they host Cal Lutheran at home and will head to Thousand Oaks for a doubleheader tomorrow.
Richard Lugo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.