THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Andrew Douglas went 3-for-5 with two RBI, Javi Iniguez turned in another solid pitching performance and the fourth-seeded University of La Verne baseball defeated No. 2 seed Redlands, 5-2, to take control of the 2015 SCIAC Postseason Tournament on Saturday.
La Verne moves to 2-0 in postseason play and will have two chances to clinch the tournament championship on Sunday against the winner of the Redlands vs. Cal Lutheran game.
La Verne got all the runs it needed in the second inning and Douglas was in the thick of things. With the bases loaded and two outs, Douglas pushed a single through the right side to plate Nolan Henley and Jared Hovsepian to give the Leopards a 2-1 lead. Then, with Tyler Watkins at third, Douglas stole second and induced Redlands catcher Sean McMillan to overthrow, which allowed Watkins to cross the plate.
The Leopards pulled off a successful double steal in the bottom of the sixth for an insurance run. As Tyler Watkins attempted to steal second, Woody Reyes, who was on third, broke for home and crossed the plate to give the Leopards a 4-1 lead.
Javi Iniguez went 6.2 innings while giving up two runs and made big pitches when it mattered. After allowing Redlands to score first in the first inning, Iniguez posted five shutout frames to bring his record to 7-3 on the year.
Redlands got within 4-2 in the top of the seventh using a wild pitch and an infield single, but Nick Byrd came in to close the door for the Leopards and tossed 2.1 scoreless innings to earn his sixth save of the season.
The Leopards added an additional run in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Hovsepian to seal the win.
Reyes had two hits for La Verne while Watkins, Henley and Ben White added one each. The Leopards were patient at the plate, drawing six walks to six strikeouts.
Felix Minjarez, who no-hit the Leopards on Feb. 27, was tagged with the loss after going 5.2 innings and giving up four runs on seven hits.
La Verne will face the winner of the Redlands-Cal Lutheran matchup on 11 a.m. tomorrow. If the Leopards win, they will win the tournament and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. If the Leopards lose, they will get another crack in a rematch at 2:30 p.m.