The baseball team’s offense caught fire during the California Invitational Tournament winning the first four games of the tournament and extending their win streak to five dating back to their win over Keio Japan.
The Leo’s took game one of the doubleheader on Sunday putting up 20 hits and beating La Sierra, 22-10.
Victor Pinado got the start on the mound for the University and took the win. He also led the team offensively going 3-4 at the plate with two doubles, two walks and three RBIs.
“I try to lead with my bat,” junior infielder Pinado said. “These wins will help out a lot and gives us confidence moving forward.”
Sophomore infielder Aaron Coopman contributed a second inning grand slam, finishing the game 2-6 with four RBIs.
Freshmen infielder Zack Canfield went 4-for-4 with an RBI and junior catcher Mike Surina chipped in three hits in four at-bats with three RBIs.
In game two of the doubleheader the hits kept on coming as the University put up 23 hits and beat Kean, 16-1.
Junior outfielder Donovan Petta led the way for the Leos going 4-5 in the game with two RBIs.
“We did a really good job of sticking to our hitting plan,” Petta said. “It helped out keying on fastballs early and staying aggressive throughout the game.”
Senior pitcher Jesse Sweet got the win for the Leopards improving his record to 1-1. Sweet went seven innings giving up five hits and one earned run.
Senior outfielder Mike Belcher was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBIs and three runs scored.
“I was able to stay focused throughout the game,” Belcher said. “I felt locked in for all nine innings.”
Pinado added three hits and Surina tallied four to go along with two RBIs.
On Monday the Leopards did not let up, beating Illinois Tech, 9-8. Senior pitcher Sal Diaz took the win improving his record to 1-1. Diaz came into the game in the second inning and went 3 2/3 innings, giving up one earned run.
Continuing their hot hitting for the Leopards were Petta and Surina.
Petta added three RBIs and Surina went 2-for-4 and scored three runs.
Senior pitcher Grant Wheatley closed the game for the Leopards picking up his second save of the season.
On Tuesday La Verne was able to hold off Rutgers-Newark, beating them, 5-4, extending their tournament win streak to four.
Wheatley got the start and win for the Leopards going six innings on five hits and two earned runs.
Pinado went 1-for-3 in the game with two RBIs. Petta, Surina and sophomore infielder Mark Larini each contributed an RBI.
“We were able to put a lot of base hits together because of better at-bats,” Larini said. “We were able to hit effectively with two outs and didn’t strike out as much.”
Junior pitcher Tim Jolly secured the win for the Leopards pitching a scoreless ninth inning and earning his first save of the season.
“These games can be the start of a long streak of wins that will carry momentum into league play,” Pinado said.
La Verne will resume play at 11 a.m. on Friday when they visit Claremont-Mudd-Scripps then travel back home to play non-conference opponent Rutgers-Newark at 3 p.m.
Kevin Garrity can be reached at email@example.com