ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team earned a couple of wins this afternoon against the visiting La Verne Leopards, taking the series and improving to 8-2 (2-1 SCIAC). Sophomore Kyle Joye hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning in his only at-bat of the day to help the Panthers in game one.
Game 1 – Chapman 4, La Verne 3 – 10 innings
No. 20-ranked Chapman started off game one with three runs in the bottom of the first. After senior Jonathan Hernandez posted a 1-2-3 top of the first, freshman Brad Shimabuku hit a lead-off double to start the scoring sequence. Fellow freshman Drew Littwin then stepped up to the plate, driving a ball to left field for his first of three RBIs on the day. With one on and two outs, sophomore designated hitter Mack Cheli hit a two-run bomb over the left field fence to put the Panthers up 3-0 early in the game.
Hernandez pitched a scoreless next four innings, allowing just one hit before the Leopards came back to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the sixth. After 121 pitches and just four hits allowed, Hernandez was replaced in the top of the eighth by sophomore Cody Turner. The reliever struck out the next batter and forced a double play to keep the Panthers in the game.
Turner pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 10th inning, bringing up Littwin to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Littwin doubled through the left side, putting the game-winning run in scoring position. With two outs and two on after Cheli was intentionally walked, Joye stepped up to the plate as the pinch hitter. The sophomore got his first hit of the season – a walk-off single through the right side to send the dugout running onto the field in celebration and give Chapman its first conference victory.
Game 2 – Chapman 7, La Verne 1
After conceding a run in the first inning off a couple of errors, the third and final game of the series was all Chapman action as eight different Panthers tallied at least one hit. Littwin helped tie the game, tallying his second RBI of the day with a two-out double to score junior Aaron Wong.
The Panthers took the lead in the bottom of the fourth and added a few insurance runs as well. Senior Jarod Penniman, who hit a team-best .750 on the day, started off the inning with an infield single. With bases loaded and one out, Littwin stepped up to the plate and tallied his third and final RBI of the day. The rookie singled to left field, scoring one run and keeping the bases loaded for sophomore Kevin Gregersen.
Gregersen hit a single down the left field line, scoring the runners on second and third while advancing to third after Littwin was thrown out at home. Gregersen then scored on a wild pitch to put the Panthers up 5-1 with four innings left to play.
Freshman Miguel Cebedo singled in a run in the bottom of the seventh, followed by a sac fly from Wong in the bottom of the eighth to give Chapman its final 7-1 lead.
Senior Mason Collins improved to 2-0 on the season, allowing no earned runs and striking out four in seven innings pitched. Sophomore Nick Garcia pitched two lights-out innings, allowing no hits and striking out two to keep a perfect 0.00 ERA.
The Panthers return to Hart Park on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. to host Centenary of Louisiana.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant