Chapman is 2-0 all-time against Concordia University Texas after earning a 3-2 victory over the side at the Cactus Classic in Tucson, Ariz. in the 2018 season. In that game, Chapman walked off in the bottom of the ninth on a Kevin Gregersen RBI single. Senior Jonathan Hernandez earned the victory after entering in the ninth to close the game. The Tornados are 7-6 in away games this season, while the Panthers have posted a 21-7 record while playing at Hart Park. Concordia split a doubleheader with Redlands earlier this season to post a 1-1 record against SCIAC teams.
This is the second year in a row the Panthers won the SCIAC Tournament Championship to earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament. Chapman won the Regional round in walk-off fashion, beating Whitman 3-2 in a winner-take-all final game of the first round of the tournament. This is the first time the Panthers have made it past the Regional round since the 2011 squad reached the championship series of the NCAA Tournament. This is also the first year the NCAA Division III Postseason Tournament adopted the Super Regional-style tournament play. The winners of all eight best-of-three Super Regionals head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the College World Series.
From the first pitch this season, the Panthers have been making epic comebacks to post a 36-11 overall record. Chapman went down in all four games in the Cactus Classic to start off the season – and came back to win all four. The late-game antics have been a constant theme for the Panthers. Chapman has earned 13 of its wins after trailing or tied going into the sixth inning, including their fourth walk-off victory of the season to win the Regional round this past weekend. The Panthers are 21-4 when their opponents score first. Nearly half of Chapman's runs have come in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and the Panthers have outscored their opponents 149-73 after the fifth inning.
RECORD BOOK RE-WRITE
The Panthers have been busy writing their names all over the record books this season. Senior Tyler Peck ranks second all-time at Chapman with 43 starts, set the single-season record with 142 strikeouts this year and ranks second in program history with 302 career strikeouts. The Panther pitching staff absolutely shattered the single-season strikeout record this year, combining for 465 strikeouts to lead the nation. Sophomore Cody Turner ranks second all-time and leads the nation with 28 appearances this season. Fellow sophomore Nick Garcia ranks in the top-4 in program history with nine saves this season, becoming the first pitcher in the last decade to break into the category. Senior Alex Tsuruda also entered a single-season category that had not been touched in a decade, ranking fourth all-time in program history with 20 stolen bases this season. Fellow senior Jarod Penniman is leaving his mark in the fielding record books, ranking second all-time with 526 career assists.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
The Panthers' three team captains have been outstanding in their final postseason appearances. Hernandez pitched a gem in the first game against Cal Lutheran in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament two weekends ago, earning the tournament MVP and setting the tone for the rest of the postseason. The Panthers are 13-1 when the righty starts on the mound and he has posted a perfect 7-0 record this season. Penniman and Tristan Kevitch join Hernandez in leading the Panthers this postseason. Penniman has tallied 19 multiple-hit games this season and recorded two hits in every single game in the series against Whitman. The senior laid down the walk-off sacrifice bunt in the Regional final after climbing the ladder to stop a hard-hit line drive headed for left center in the top half of the ninth inning. He hit .500 with four runs scored and four RBI to help lead the Panthers. Kevitch was also a force at the plate, hitting .600 in the five-game series with five doubles, two RBI, three walks and a solo home run.
The Panthers host Concordia in a best-of-three series starting on Friday, May 24 at 12 p.m. at Hart Park. Game two will be played at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 25 and a third and final game will be played approximately 45 minutes after the completion of game two if necessary.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant