ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team beat the visiting Concordia University Texas Tornados 11-3 in the first game of the NCAA Division III Super Regional round this afternoon. Sophomore Henry Zeisler hit not one, but two home runs to knock in four runs for the Panthers while senior Jonathan Hernandez allowed just three runs in his third complete game this season.
After allowing a run in the bottom of the first, Chapman responded with a four-spot in the top of the third. With runners on the corners and one out, junior Aaron Wong scored on a wild pitch. Senior Tristan Kevitch then singled through the left side, putting runners on the corners again. With just one out on the board, Zeisler stepped up to the plate and blasted a three-run homer over the right field fence to give Chapman a 4-1 lead.
Hernandez allowed one more run to score in the bottom of the fourth, but the Panthers blew the game open in the in the sixth and seventh innings.
Zeisler led off in the sixth and smashed a first-pitch solo shot over the same spot in right field for his second home run of the game. With two outs and nobody on, senior Jarod Penniman reached first on an error to bring Littwin up to the plate. The rookie doubled deep through the right side, scoring Penniman all the way from first. Wong got in on the two-out action next, smashing a single through the right side to score Littwin and extend Chapman's lead to 7-2.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the seventh, junior Joe Jimenez got hit by a pitch to tally an RBI and bring the Panthers' eighth run over the plate. Sophomore Mack Cheli stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and reached on a fielder's choice, knocking in the runner on third and giving Chapman a 9-2 lead with two innings left to play.
The Tornados scored one more run in the bottom of the eighth on Chapman's only error of the game, but the next batter grounded out to Hernandez to send the Panthers back up to the plate in the top of the ninth.
A bases-loaded walk scored Chapman's 10th run, followed by a double play that allowed the runner on third to score, giving the Panthers their final 11-3 lead of the game. Hernandez finished out the game in the bottom half of the ninth, retiring the final batter on a groundout to shortstop.
Hernandez earned his eighth win of the season and kept his record perfect at 8-0. The righty allowed eight hits and struck out five in the effort.
Eight different Panthers tallied at least one hit in the big win. Zeisler led the way with two hits – both of which were home runs – four RBI and two runs scored. Penniman, Kevitch and freshman Brad Shimabuku each tallied two hits for the Panthers.
Both teams head back out to Hart Park tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. for the second game of the best-of-three series. If necessary, game three will start 45 minutes after the completion of game two.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant