ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team fell 10-7 to the visiting Castleton Spartans earlier this evening. Sophomore Mack Cheli continues to be a big hitter in the DH spot, recording his third home run of the season and driving in two runs in the bottom of the second.
After a scoreless first inning, freshman Miguel Cebedo led off the bottom of the second with a single to center field. Cheli then stepped up and hit a two-run homer over the left field fence to put the Panthers up 2-0 with no outs. With two outs and bases loaded, freshman Drew Littwin hit a screamer to center field, driving in two more runs to put Chapman up 4-0.
With runners on first and second and no outs for the Spartans in the top of the fourth, a critical error from sophomore pitcher Cole Fleming allowed two runs to score and the batter to reach second. The runner advanced on a groundout, followed by an infield single that allowed him to score and cut Castleton's deficit to just one run. Another error, this time from first baseman Cebedo, allowed another run to score, tying the game at 4-4 in the fourth inning.
The Panthers hit back-to-back leadoff doubles to start the fourth and fifth innings. Senior Jarod Penniman's leadoff double in the fourth sparked a comeback effort from Chapman. With one out and Penniman on third, junior Aaron Wong hit a sacrifice fly to the right fielder, allowing the runner to score on the throw. The Panthers increased their lead in the fifth after Littwin hit a first-pitch double to start off the inning. After advancing to third on a groundout, Cebedo knocked in the runner to put Chapman up 6-4 with four innings left to play.
A leadoff walk and a couple of singles loaded the bases for the Spartans with no outs in the top of the sixth. Junior Davis Mikell stepped up to the plate and singled to left field, scoring two runners and tying the game at 6-6. A groundout and a single later, Castleton had taken its first lead of the game at 8-6.
Sophomore Henry Zeisler knocked in a run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Spartans added two more insurance runs in the top of the ninth to secure the victory.
Littwin went a career-best 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the squad. Flemming allowed no earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched, striking out four. Junior Riley Glenn pitched two lights-out innings, allowing just one hit while striking out two.
The Panthers return to Hart Park tomorrow, Feb. 28 to host No. 5 Texas Lutheran at 4pm.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant