In the eighth inning against Chapman, freshman Mark Larini was thrown out at second base. The Leopards lost to the Panthers, 2-4 in the second game on April 11 as part of the three-game weekend series. La Verne will start a series against Occidental at 3 p.m. today in Eagle Rock and will host a doubleheader against the Tigers tomorrow at 11 a.m.
The Leopards’ high-powered offense was never able to get off the ground as Chapman proved to be the more dominant team, winning all three games and extending their winning streak to 18 games last weekend.
Playing the Division III No. 1 ranked team in the country is no easy task, as the La Verne baseball team learned last weekend after being swept by Chapman. This is the second time this season that La Verne has lost three in a row.
“I’m not concerned,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “We had a great time playing against the top-ranked team in the country and were in a position to win every game.”
Game one, which was played at Hart Park in Orange on April 11, was a defensive battle for most of the game.
Both teams had solid pitching early on as the game was scoreless through the first four innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Chapman’s John Semel broke the tie hitting a single to center field that drove in two runs. Kyle Redding also added an RBI in the inning to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
Chapman would score one more run in the eighth inning off of Redding’s solo home run to left field.
The Panthers, who allowed only three hits in the game, held La Verne scoreless and won the opener 4-0.
Sophomore pitcher Tim Jolly got his third loss of the season.
“Both pitching staffs were very strong,” Winterburn said. “I wouldn’t say they out hit us but they just had timely hitting.”
The Leopards returned to La Verne last Friday to play the second game of the series at Ben Hines Field.
Game two played much like game one in that both teams struggled to score a lot of runs. Chapman got on the scoreboard first in the top of the third off of a solo home run from Matt Pearson, as well as RBI hits from Kurt Yacko and Mike Vass.
After giving up another run, the Leopards headed in to the bottom of the sixth trailing 4-0. Junior third baseman Mike Moretti scored the first run of the series for the Leopards hitting a solo home run to right field.
Sophomore first baseman Jon-Michael Hattabaugh reached base on an error and advanced to third base on a hit from freshman outfielder Kent Longnecker, who stole home to cut the deficit to two runs. Neither team would score again as La Verne lost its second straight game 4-2.
Moretti and senior catcher Ryan Jordan had two walks a piece in the loss.
“I’m disappointed because I could’ve beaten that team, I mean it’s not like they’re the Yankees,” junior starting pitcher Jesse Sweet said. “It’s not everyday you get to play the No. 1 team in the country.”
In the series finale, Chapman jumped out to another early lead, this time in the second inning by scoring four runs off four hits. ULV came right back in the third with two runs of their own, one off a solo home run by freshman third baseman Aaron Coopman, the other off an RBI single from Hattabaugh. The Panthers would add another run in the bottom of the third to make the score 5-2.
The Leopards showed signs of life in the top of the fourth as Jordan, Coopman and sophomore left fielder Jason Munoz collected an RBI a piece to tie the game, 5-5.
The tie would not last long as Chapman came right back and scored two runs to take a 7-5 lead.
The Panthers added four more runs in the eighth as La Verne was held scoreless the rest of the way and dropped their third game of the series, losing 11-5.
With the losses La Verne’s overall record now stands at 17-13-1.
“We feel pretty confident,” senior designated hitter Scott Marcus said. “We played pretty well and were in every game.”
La Verne resumes conference play today at 3 p.m. against Occidental at Anderson Field in the opening of a three game series.
Richard Lugo can be reached at email@example.com.