ORANGE, Calif. – Senior Tyler Cook reached some career milestones but the Chapman University baseball team fell 7-4 to visiting La Verne. Cook's milestone hits all came late in the game as he helped spark a late rally that ultimately fell short.
Cook became the first Panther since the 2009 season to crack Chapman's all-time top-10 in home runs. He demolished his 16th career homer – a solo shot to left field in the eighth that put the Panthers on the board. Chapman was down 7-0 before Cook's blast but sparked a rally after the long drive.
Two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for junior Conner Larkin. He also drew a walk to force in a run. Freshman Tristan Kevitch's grounder brought in another run to make it 7-3. A fly ball ended the inning but sophomore Christian Cosby tossed a scoreless ninth to keep the Panthers hopes alive.
With two outs, Cook again started the rally with a single up the middle. It was the 200th hit of Cook's career, making him just the seventh Panther to reach the milestone in the Panthers' Division III history. Junior Jared Love doubled in Cook but that was all the Leopards allowed as they took the win in the pivotal series in the race for the SCIAC Tournament.
La Verne did all its damage early, turning a pair of walks to start the game into a three-run rally in the first. They scored again in the second before junior Brad Steiner took over on the mound. Steiner was solid over five and a third innings to limit the damage.
The Leopards took advantage of an error in the third for another run to make it 5-0 but Steiner held the Leopards scoreless over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Christopher Ligot's double in the seventh scored another La Verne run to make it 6-0.
La Verne received a solid start from Christopher Arcos, who pitched into the eighth before allowing a run and giving way to the bullpen to close it out. He allowed five hits, walked four and struck out one to earn the win.
After the Leopards tacked on one more in the eighth, the Panthers mounted their comeback attempt.
Chapman heads to La Verne for a doubleheader tomorrow to close out the three-game series.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director