ORANGE, Calif. – Junior Gavin Blodgett came up in a clutch spot with a two-out single to left that made the Chapman University baseball team a 5-4 walkoff winner over Bates. Blodgett's game-winning single capped a three-run, two-out rally in the ninth that improved the Panthers to 5-2 on the year.
Chapman hadn't put much together offensively over the first eight innings and faced a 4-2 deficit heading into the ninth. After two quick outs, sophomore Alex Tsuruda breathed life into the rally with a triple that rolled all the way into the right field corner. Sophomore Jarod Penniman wore a looping curve to trot down to first and put the tying run on base.
Senior John Wiehe cashed in both runners as he crushed a double off the bottom of the wall in left center. Penniman scored all the way from first to tie the game at 4-4. A quick pitching change didn't deter Blodgett as he smoked a line drive into left. Wiehe rounded third and came in just ahead of the throw to complete the game-winning rally and send the Panthers pouring out of the dugout.
Junior Jared Love drove in the Panthers' first two runs with a ground ball in the third and a double in the eighth. Bates took the initial 2-0 lead in the top of the third on Brenden Fox's two-RBI single. The Bobcats went up 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh and singled in another run in the eight for a 4-1 lead.
Both teams reached deep into the bullpens as Bates used five pitchers and Chapman used six. Freshman Austin Merrill picked up his second win of the season after tossing a scoreless ninth. Miles Michaud allowed four of the Panthers five runs over the eighth and ninth innings and took the loss on the hill. Junior Kynan Barton threw four strong innings for the Panthers in the start.
Chapman will make up Friday's rain out against Redlands on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. at Hart Park. The Panthers swept a doubleheader from the Bulldogs on Saturday and looking for the conference series sweep to open the SCIAC season.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director