LA VERNE, Calif. — The La Verne baseball team rode solid pitching and some clutch hitting to sweep No. 22 Cal Lutheran in a doubleheader on Sunday at Ben Hines Field.
La Verne's staff, which struggled with consistency out of the gate, was excellent today. The Leopards gave up just five earned runs and two walks in 18 innings on the day.
Game 1: La Verne 3, Cal Lutheran 2
Christopher Ligot drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Leopards beat the Kingsmen 3-2 in the first game.
Christopher Peres got the start and went 5.2 innings without giving up an earned run. He struck out six and walked just one.
Peres gave way to Hayden Firth with two outs in the sixth and Firth took it all the way for his first win of the year. He gave up one run and struck out three in 3.1 innings.
The Leopards got the scoring started in the bottom of the third. Isaiah Cruz earned a lead off walk, stole second and got to third on a deep flyout by Jakob Thomas. Peres then lined out to deep left to plate Cruz.
Cal Lutheran struck right back in the top of the fourth as it took advantage of an error and an infield single by Weston Clark to tie it at 1-1. The Kingsmen gave it back right away as they committed back-to-back errors following a hit batter and the Leopards took a 2-1 lead.
With runners at first and second and one out, Cal Lutheran's Alec Iniguez came up with an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 2-2. The Leopards went down in order in the bottom of the seventh but Firth held firm in the top of the eighth to set the stage for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
Cruz led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed over to second by Thomas. Peres the flied out to right but Ligot came through with a clutch pinch-hit single to bring in the winning run.
Miguel Salud (0-1) came on for the Kingsmen in the eighth inning and was tagged with the loss. Starter Marshall Pautch held his own, going seven innings while giving up one earned run.
Game 2: La Verne 5, Cal Lutheran 4
The Kingsmen scored the game's first four runs but the Leopards scored five unanswered runs of their own—including a four-run sixth—to claim a 5-4 comeback win in the nightcap.
The Leopards bullpen pitched 6.2 innings and give just one hit and one walk. Nico Gonzalez (1-1) got the win, striking out two in 1.2 innings, and Cody Norman earned his second multi-inning save with three perfect innings to shut the door.
Trailing 4-0, La Verne broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and Andrew Douglas on first, Nicholas Michaels smacked a double to deep right to score Douglas to cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Leopards kept the momentum going in the sixth and broke through with a big inning. La Verne loaded the bases with one out and followed with three straight singles by Mark Abbate, Douglas and Jacob Benson to push across four runs to take a 5-4 lead.
Norman did the rest, retiring all nine batters he faced to preserve the win.
The Leopards are back in action next weekend against Caltech. La Verne will host the first game of the series at Ben Hines Field on Friday at 2:30 p.m.