Baseball wins four weekend games

Posted March 23, 2007
Rhiannon Mim
Safe at third on an error by Eastern Connecticut State, La Verne’s Ryan Jordan later scored in the fourth inning. The Leopards never trailed the Warriors in the game, and went on to win, 8-4. Over the weekend the Leopards had a four-game winning streak, including a 14-0 shutout against Principia, bringing their overall record to 11-9.

After a disappointing 14-4 loss to Ithaca, the theme of last weekend’s games in the California Invitational was simple: win.

The University of La Verne came out victorious in all four games and rounded out its non-conference record to 11-9.

On March 16, La Verne played against Rutgers-Newark with a 16-9 score.

It was the Leopards’ highest scoring game since the 2004 season.

The 16 runs were due to ULV’s unmatched confidence at the plate where every starter on the roster reached base safely and eight of them got base hits.

“I think we just had timely hitting,” sophomore pitcher Sal Diaz said. “We had great at bats. We knew what we had to do and we executed.”

Junior outfielder Brad Licher extended his hitting streak to nine games, senior outfielder Kyle Johnson went two-for-two and racked up five RBIs, and starting pitcher Mark Simmons went six innings and struck out four Rutgers players racking up his fourth season win.

“I think we were pretty confident,” Licher said. “You’re supposed to bounce back and that’s what we did. This weekend, we got ready for conference.”

ULV started out strong getting nine runs in only the third inning. In the eighth, Rutgers went on a four run hitting streak but it just wasn’t enough for them to catch the Leopards.

On Saturday, the ULV men earned two more wins when they played Eastern Connecticut State and Wesleyan.

The Leopards again came out considerably strong and never fell behind in their 8-4 victory.

La Verne’s pitching was led by junior Ryan Rose, who held Eastern Connecticut State to only two runs in the first six innings.

Again, as with the day before, eight of nine starters for ULV got base hits.
Every hitter from the La Verne bench was so poised and self-assured, that their positive thinking helped them get hit after hit.

“Our hitters just believed what our coaches have been telling them all year long and they just put it to practice,” Simmons said.

And their hitting just got stronger and more brilliant as the tournament went on.

The second game on Saturday against Wesleyan was a night game beginning at 7.

ULV sure did come out to play with a 12-2 win.

Wesleyan scored their only two runs in the third inning, making the score 3-2.

At the time, it seemed as if the game would be a close one.

But the ULV men decided to not take any chances and went on to score nine more runs over the next six innings.

There was no rally in any inning but more of consistent one or two runs scored in each at bat.

The game on Sunday was even more one-sided when ULV beat Principia, 14-0.

Starting pitcher junior Jimmy Wilfong, along with senior Matt Young, junior Mike Sechi, and sophomore closer Grant Wheatley made a team effort to shut out Principia and came up with 20 strike outs.

“This weekend they pitched unbelievable,” Licher said. “I’ve never seen them pitch that well.”

The Leopards claimed a surprising season high this game by leaving 17 runners on base, but they were still able to get 14 men across home plate.

“We have a good momentum going right now so it’s our job as pitchers to pitch strikes so that our hitters can just go out there and hit the ball,” Simmons said.

The Leopards will begin league games in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Friday when they play Redlands and if this weekend is any predictor of what the season holds, then ULV will have no trouble getting men home safely.

Taryn Aguilar can be reached at taguilar@ulv.edu.

Baseball wins four weekend games

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