ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team experienced a case of déjà vu on Thursday night, falling to visiting Rutgers-Newark University at Hart Park by a score of 3-2. It was the second straight year Scarlet Raiders' senior RHP Kyle Van Vliet tossed a complete game victory against the Panthers and didn't allow a run until the ninth.
The loss is Chapman's third in a row and fourth in its past five games. It was also the Panthers' third straight loss at Hart Park, dropping them to a break-even 7-7 at home.
Van Vliet, after shutting out the Panthers on six hits with 12 strikeouts in 2012, was almost as good this time around. The right-hander tossed another eight shutout inning – making it 17 in a row against Chapman – before surrendering a pair of runs in the ninth. He again held the Panthers to just six hits while striking out eight to earn his first win of the year.
Rutgers-Newark (3-10) snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a two-out rally off Chapman junior RHP Justin Hanks. Junior SS Kevin Olah singled in a run to give the Scarlet Raiders a 1-0 lead – one of his three hits in the game.
The score remained 1-0 until the eighth when Olah started a rally with a leadoff single and then scored on a double from junior OF Jimmy Napolitano. Two batters later, freshman 3B Brian Kokos singled in the third run of the game for Rutgers, providing just the right amount of insurance for Van Vliet.
Chapman finally broke through with one out in the ninth as freshman C Matt Gandy hit a line drive single to center and came around to score on freshman pinch hitter Tyler Cook's triple. Cook then scored on a RBI ground out to make it 3-2, but that was all the Panthers would get.
Sophomore SS Greg Dillon doubled in the third inning and has now hit safely in 18 of the past 19 games.
Hanks (2-5) suffered the loss in what was designated as a "staff day" with five different pitchers splitting the nine innings. Freshman Matt Smith started the game for Chapman and threw three shutout innings with two strikeouts.
The Panthers will have a week layoff before returning to SCIAC action on March 29 with a single game in Redlands and then will host the Bulldogs in a doubleheader on March 30 at Hart Park beginning at 11 a.m.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director