Baseball takes 2-1 series lead

Trista Kevitch celebrates with teammates after a homer.
Tristan Kevitch (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – Five late runs led the Chapman University baseball team to a crucial 9-4 win in the third game over Whitman in the NCAA best-of-5 Regional. The Panthers pounded out 16 hits to put up the nine runs and take a 2-1 series lead.

Whitman had 12 hits but left 14 runner on base as the Chapman pitching staff got the key outs it needed. Sophomore Riley Glenn started the game and went four innings before handing the ball over to sophomore Cody Turner for the next two. Sophomore Nick Garcia picked up his sixth win of the season with three scoreless frames. Garcia struck out four and allowed just one hit.

Senior Tristan Kevitch was 4-for-4 at the plate, including a solo homer in the eighth that added to the late Chapman lead. Junior Joe Jimenenz and sophomore Mack Cheli each had three hits.

Whitman took the lead with a run on three hits in the first but the Panthers came out swinging with three runs in the bottom half to jump out in front. Three walks loaded the bases to set up a sacrifice fly from sophomore Henry Zeisler. Cheli was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in a run and senior Jarod Penniman singled in the third run.

Kevitch's second inning double made it 4-1 Chapman but the Blues scratched back into the game. Matthew Sox doubled in a run in the fourth. In the fifth, the Blues loaded the bases with no outs to score on a wild pitch and a groundout and tie the game at 4-4.

In the seventh, freshman Drew Littwin hit a line drive into shallow right with two outs and Cheli on second. The liner was dropped in right, allowing Cheli to score and give the Panthers the lead back at 5-4.

With the lead back in their hands, the Panther bats came alive. Tsuruda doubled in an insurance run, Kevitch hit his solo homer and Penniman and freshman Brad Shimabuku each hit sacrifice flies.

Garcia shut the door in the ninth and lifted the Panthers to a series lead.