Baseball looks to returners heading into opening weekend

photo by Larry Newman
photo by Larry Newman

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team enters the 2018 season after making a run in the SCIAC tournament last year. The Panthers have all the pieces in place for a successful season as they return seven of nine players in the lineup and all three starting pitchers. Chapman also welcomes back four All-SCIAC selections from last year, including First Teamer and senior captain Jared Love.

Love recorded career numbers in his junior year as a Panther, ranking second on the squad with a .385 average. The Brea, Calif. native led the team in RBIs (45), doubles (18), walks (32), on-base percentage (.505) and slugging percentage (.671). He was also named to the D3baseball.com and American Baseball Coaches Association All-West Region Third Team along with fellow senior Gavin Blodgett.

Blodgett ended his junior campaign with a spot on the All-Region Third Team as well as an All-SCIAC honor as a member of the Second Team. The Fullerton, Calif. native posted a .348 average on 161 plate appearances last year, leading the team in runs with 46. He tallied 56 hits and six home runs, earning a spot in the top-3 on the Chapman squad in both categories.

The Panthers also welcome back two more All-SCIAC Second Team selections in seniors Conner Larkin and Justin Stream. Larkin led the squad last year with four triples and already holds the career record at Chapman with 13 total triples. In Stream's first year as a Panther, he recorded 47 hits, 38 RBIs, 13 doubles and two home runs.

The Panthers will look to five different pitchers to take the ball on the mound for the 2018 season. Right-handed pitcher Joey Harmon leads the quintet of juniors after he posted a team-best 3.43 ERA last year. Matt Mogollon returns to the mound after pitching 62.1 innings and striking out 73 batters, the most of any Chapman pitcher last season. Tyler Peck and Mason Collins will hold spots in the rotation after pitching 43.2 and 42.2 innings, respectively. After appearing in nine games as a freshman and 10 as a sophomore as a reliever, Christian Cosby enters the Panthers' starting rotation.

Chapman returns some strong pitchers coming out of the bullpen, including senior Brad Steiner, who pitched the second-most innings as a reliever at 40.1 innings pitched with an ERA of 4.24 and 14 strikeouts. Juniors Mason Collins and Jonathan Hernandez and sophomore Austin Merrill join Steiner as standouts coming out of the bullpen.

Chapman opens its season with a three-day tournament in Tucson, Ariz. before heading back to Hart Park for their home opener on Saturday, Feb. 17 with a doubleheader against Redlands.

by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant

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