La Verne came out on top, 8-1 and 7-3, during a doubleheader Saturday against Occidental. Sophomore Ryan Rose pitched seven innings with 11 strikeouts and two walks. The Leopards went on to play Occidental once more and won, 5-4, in addition beating Bethany, 13-6, Tuesday.
Behind the arms of junior Mark Simmons, sophomore Ryan Rose and freshman Sal Diaz, the University of La Verne baseball team defeated Occidental, 8-1 and 7-3, in a doubleheader on Saturday, and 5-4 on Sunday.
They also disposed of Bethany, 13-6, on Tuesday at Ben Hines Field.
With Bethany, from West Virginia, in town for its nine-game West Coast trip, the Leopards were the third Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team to hand the Bison a loss.
Diaz picked up his first win of the season Tuesday night by pitching five hard innings and striking out seven batters.
“Lately we have had great pitching and offensive production from the outfield,” head coach Scott Winterburn said.
Behind the bats of junior infielder Daniel Talbot and catcher Scott Marcus the Leopards cruised to another victory. Bethany tried to challenge the pitching of the Leopards but they were over powered and held in check.
Marcus went 4-6 and has boosted his batting average to .395 for the season.
In the first game of there doubleheader against Occidental, Simmons started the game off by giving up a solo home run to Occidental first baseman Jon Birch to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Simmons immediately took control after his mistake by striking out four Tigers in eight strong innings and allowing only one run.
La Verne quickly struck back with a second inning homerun from first baseman Nick McDonald, which tied the game. Senior Jason Jarvis hit one of his two doubles in the third inning to give the Leopards a commanding 4-1 lead.
La Verne went in for the kill by adding four more runs in the sixth inning with Ray Kaptur hitting his first home run of the season and big hits by outfielder Lucas Berry, who led the Leopards with three hits.
Simmons picked up his second win which keeps him at a perfect 2-0 for the season.
“We have picked up our defense, pitching and offense these last few games,” Simmons said.
After a three run first inning by Occidental, Rose came to his senses throwing seven innings of perfect baseball while sitting down 11 Tigers and allowing two walks in his seven innings of work, in game two.
Freshman Richard Johnson finished the game for the Leopards striking out five batters in two innings of relief work.
After evening the score 3-3 in the fourth inning, Brandon Mikkelson hit one of his two singles, scoring Scott Marcus. Marcus' hit-streak came to a halt at eight games after going 0-for-1 with three walks.
The Leopards will have to continue their streak and possibly finish the season without senior Jason Jarvis who suffered a knee injury.
“It’s going to be hard to replace Jason,” senior Mike Terrones said. “I believe we have other guys who can step up and fill his shoes.”
The Leopards will continue the rest of their nine game home stand with hopes of keeping their four game winning streak alive when they collide with Kean University from New Jersey tomorrow at Ben Hines Field. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m.
“I think we have enough talent to win another SCIAC championship. We just have to remain mentally focused,” Winterburn said.
If everyone stays healthy, the rest of the season looks promising for the Leopards. Another SCIAC title may arrive in La Verne later on this season.
Darnell Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com.