Nate Rodriguez, Sports Information Intern
La Verne, California – The newly ranked Leopards replaced California Lutheran University as the second SCIAC team listed in the national D3 baseball rankings this week, sharing the list now with the #22 ranked Chapman University Panthers. La Verne hosted the Kingsmen Saturday for a doubleheader, riding Gerald Terry's scoreless inning streak to a series victory before losing the day's second game.
The 6'3" right-hander has not allowed a run in over a month; CMS last scored on him in the fifth inning of a seven-inning start, in which he allowed only two earned. After finishing the fifth, Terry struck out the next four batters he faced. Since that day, La Verne's Saturday headliner has dealt 24.1 consecutive scoreless frames while throwing 31 chairs in 3 separate starts. Against the Kingsmen, Terry persevered for eight shutout innings allowing just two hits, inducing soft contact all game long, and striking out nine. By the end of the series' first two games, La Verne racked up 30 hits against Cal Lutheran and outscored them 19-2. The Leopards scattered 12 hits in game one's 11-2 victory. At the top of the order, Anthony Salcedo reached base three times going 2-3 with a walk while stealing his team-leading 11th base. Three other players had a pair of hits in the first nine innings: Christian Killian, Cameron Slessor, and Drew Reddick. The exclamation point came in the bottom of the eighth when Tanner Siffert stepped to the plate hitless in four at-bats; he lifted a fastball to deep right-center that caught the wind and rode out for Siffert's second home run this year.
Sidearm hurler Alfredo Frey recorded two strikeouts in a clean ninth inning to slam the door, lifting the Leopards to their season's 20th victory. After game one, their conference record sat with a lone blemish atop the SCIAC at 13-1.
Left-hander Benny Vogel made his season's sixth start in Saturday's second game, which resulted in ULV's second conference loss 7-3. Vogel attacked the zone with a well-blended mix of fastballs and breaking balls early in counts, keeping plenty of Kingsmen hitters in their woes following the shutout win. He finished with six strikeouts in five innings and did not allow an earned run. The Leopards jumped out to a 3-0 lead courtesy of Brandon Shiota's first two trips to the plate. In the first, Shiota drove in the ballgame's first run with an infield single, then later in the third he pummeled a thigh-high offering well into the meadow behind Ben Hines field for a no-doubt two-run home run. Despite the Leopards' right fielder barreling baseballs all day long, the Leopards struggled to score against the CLU bullpen the rest of the game. Cal Lutheran tagged Vicente Molina and Frey for six combined runs out of relief, three earned charged to Molina while one was added to Frey. The Kingsmen spoiled the La Verne Alumni Day celebration with seven unanswered runs in the later innings, a rally that carried them to
their season's eighteenth victory and seventh in SCIAC. After splitting the doubleheader on the road, CLU sits fourth in conference. The Leopards remain in first place looking ahead to a weekend series against 3-25 Whittier College, with Friday's game on April 15 scheduled for a 3:00pm first pitch at Ben Hines Field.