La Verne’s baseball team was swept by the Redlands Bulldogs last week, getting swept for a second straight time by a conference opponent.
The sweep weakens the Leopards’ Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record to 0-6 and an overall record of 3-12.
In game one on Friday at Ben Hines Field, Redlands handed the Leopards a 6-2 loss despite senior pitcher Jesse Sweet throwing a complete game.
“I thought I threw well and located my fastball for the most part,” Sweet said. “But they were aggressive when I made mistakes and capitalized on my misses.”
Sweet went nine innings, giving up eight hits and six earned runs while dropping his record to 0-1 on the season.
The Bulldogs offense came mainly from home runs by senior outfielder Matt Goldstein, sophomore infielder Manny Cardeiro and junior infielder Zack Braband.
“I was throwing my fastballs and change-ups effectively all day, but when I did miss they were able to hit them out,” Sweet said.
Redlands sent Nolan Nicholson to the bump as he improved his record to 4-0 after going six innings while only giving up one earned run.
The Leopards’ junior first baseman, Victor Peinado gathered two hits, a walk and an RBI, raising his average to .447.
Junior infielder Jon-Michael Hattabaugh provided the team’s other RBI.
In game two, junior pitcher Tim Jolly got the start for the visiting Leopards but gave up four first inning runs and the lead was never relinquished.
Goldstein went 4-for-5 for Redlands and drove in two runs in their 8-3 victory.
The final game of the series went to the Bulldogs who put up 16 runs, completing the three game sweep.
The Leopards are still looking for their first conference win.
“We are off to a bad start but we will keep working hard to try and get through this tough time,” said senior outfielder Mike Belcher.
“We aren’t hitting or pitch?ing consistently right now,” said senior infielder Mike Moretti. “There are no magic solutions out there. We just have to keep working at practice and make adjustments the best we can.”
Moretti went 2-for-3 with a walk in game two and 2-for-5 in game three, putting his season average at .314.
The Leopards will get a break from conference play when they host a series of non-conference opponents this week, including Japan’s Keio on Thursday.
“I don’t have any doubt that something tremendous will happen for us in the second half of the season,” Belcher said.
Conference play resumes at 2 p.m. on March 20 at Ben Hines Field against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer are now tied for first place in the SCIAC.
Kevin Garrity can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.