ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team defeated the University of La Verne 4-1 earlier this afternoon to advance to the Championship game of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament tomorrow morning. Senior Tristan Kevitch led the Panthers with a two-run double to help lift the squad to victory.
After a scoreless first inning, senior pitcher Mason Collins ended the top of the second with a strikeout to bring junior Joe Jimenez up to the plate in the bottom half of the inning. The catcher hit a leadoff single to start the rally. Sophomore Henry Zeisler stepped up next, knocking a single to right field to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Senior Jarod Penniman hit a perfect bunt down the first base line to advance the runners into scoring position with just one out on the board, bringing up freshman Drew Littwin. The third baseman grounded out to shortstop, knocking in Jimenez on third to put the Panthers up 1-0.
Collins pitched a scoreless third and fourth inning and retired the side in the fifth to bring the Panthers up to the plate. Littwin hit a leadoff single to center field to start the inning. Junior Aaron Wong then hit a perfectly placed bunt, beating out the throw to reach first safely while advancing the runner.
A groundout and a strikeout brought Kevitch up to bat with runners on second and third and two outs. The captain snuck a grounder past the outstretched hand of the third baseman for a two-run double, putting Chapman up 3-0. Sophomore Mack Cheli stepped up next and singled to score Kevitch and put the Panthers up by four runs.
The Leopards answered in the next inning, scoring one run on Collins. Sophomore Cody Turner entered to relieve Collins with one out and runners on the corners. Turner forced a double play to end the inning with the Panthers up 4-1.
Turner pitched a lights-out seventh and eighth innings, striking out one while allowing just two hits before sophomore Nick Garcia came in to close in the top of the ninth. Garcia retired the side to end the game and send the Panthers into the Championship game tomorrow morning.
Kevitch finished the game hitting 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored. Jimenez and Wong also tallied two hits and one run scored in the effort.
The Panthers will face off against the winner of Cal Lutheran and La Verne tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. at Hart Park. The Kingsmen and the Leopards are set to play an elimination game this evening at 6 p.m.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant