Baseball evens series with early offense

Jarod Penniman runs to first.
Jarod Penniman (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – An early offensive outburst helped the Chapman University baseball team hang on for a 9-7 win over Whittier on Saturday. The win evened the SCIAC series but was supposed to be the first game of a doubleheader.

With showers going on and off during the first game and a steady rainfall in the late innings, the Panthers and Poets decided to postpone the third and final game of the series until Tuesday.

Chapman (9-5, 3-5 SCIAC) beat the rain and went up on the Poets with a five-run first inning. The Panthers scored all five runs with two outs and needed just two hits to build the early lead.

After two quick outs for Whittier starter Matthew Macey, he walked senior Gavin Blodgett before hitting seniors Justin Stream and Jared Love with a pitch. Junior Tristan Kevitch cashed in on the opportunity with a two-run single to give Chapman a 2-1 lead.

After another walk to senior Conner Larkin to load the bases again, an error allowed two more runs to come home. Freshman Nick Garcia followed with an RBI-single into center to cap the rally.

Senior Joey Harmon let go a solo homer in the first but cruised through the next four innings as Chapman built a 9-1 lead. Harmon retired five in a row after the home run and allowed just one runner into scoring position through the fifth inning. He tossed six strong innings in the start, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out four.

On the other end of the inning, the Panthers continued to put runs on the board. Larkin smacked the first of his two doubles off the right field fence in the third to spark a rally that ended with junior Jarod Penniman's two-RBI single. Blodgett homered in the fourth and Penniman beat out an infield single to score Larkin again for his third RBI of the day.

Whittier tacked on a run on a wild pitch in the sixth, hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh and rallied in the eighth for three runs to close the gap. After back-to-back RBI hits with two outs, the Panthers brought junior Jonathan Hernandez to the mound.

He slammed the door on the rally with an inning-ending strikeout. Macey singled to lead off the ninth for Whittier but senior Jared Love, in his first start back from injury, turned an unconventional double play to erase the threat. He scooped up a grounder, stepped on first and fired to Penniman on second base, where Macey was tagged out. Another strikeout gave Hernandez his first save of the year.

With the rain increasing at the end of the game and falling steadily, the doubleheader was turned into a single game. Whittier will make the trip back to Hart Park on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. first pitch.

By Steven Olveda                                        
Sports Information Director

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