|Leopards take two from Stags|
|Posted March 09, 2007|
In a three game series against Claremont Mudd-Scripps this weekend, the La Verne baseball team won two, improving to 5-1 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference.
“I think we are taking giant steps forward into winning a conference championship this year,” senior outfielder Kyle Johnson said.
ULV played CMS at Claremont on Friday afternoon and then played them in a double header on Saturday at home.
The ULV men came out to a good start in the series with a 6-3 win on Friday.
It was sweltering for a March morning at 11.
The heat may have had an effect on the men of ULV as they were uncharacteristically sluggish during the first game on Saturday.
“Overall we struggled a little bit but we showed a lot of heart and confidence,” sophomore pitcher Sal Diaz said. “We were down in all three games but we ended up coming back.”
Diaz, the starter in the first game, came out with a less than stellar performance and the Claremont bats came alive, making the first inning score 6-0.
“We need to play all nine innings of good baseball,” Johnson said. “Once we do that, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
ULV got into the game in the second inning after some pitching changes and getting a few hits, making the score 8-3.
However, in the fourth inning, freshman Max Rose from Claremont hit a grand slam, his second home run of the game, making the score 12-3, creating a deep hole for the Leopards.
ULV ended up scoring five more runs in the next three innings and held the Stags to only one more run, but it was not enough to catch up. The Leopards lost 13-8.
But by then, the sun was cooling down and La Verne players were finding their hitting groove for the following game.
The beginning of the second game on Saturday proved to be much like the first, with Claremont jumping out to 4-1 lead.
Leopard bats started coming alive and their defense was much improved, only making one error compared to Claremont’s four.
The Leopards made their first lead of the day in the seventh inning of the second game making the score 8-7.
ULV held its 10-7 lead until the Stags’ final out when junior shortstop Tyler Bradley-Hewitt hit a two-run single to tie up the score, 10-10.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, junior outfielder Brad Licher hit an RBI double, making it his second game-winning hit in eight days.
Licher nearly hit for the cycle, going 4-for-4 with two triples, a home run and his game-winning walk-off double.
“I think we played pretty well as a team but we still have a long way to go,” senior pitcher Matt Young said. “I’m pretty excited because we do have a long way to go but we still won, so I’m excited for where we’ll go.”
Both ULV and Claremont had 13 hits this game, but the Leopards squeezed one more run out of it with good defense and smart base running.
Now they just have to keep it up when they co-host the California Invitational beginning this Thursday through March 18.
Taryn Aguilar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.