ORANGE, Calif. – All-America left-hander Ryan Lucero doused the excitement surrounding opening night for the Chapman University baseball team as visiting Trinity University (Texas) defeated the Panthers 7-1 on Thursday night at Hart Park in the season opener for both teams. The senior took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and struck out 10 batters on his way to the win.
Chapman senior OF Tyler Surnbrock ended Lucero's no-hit bid with a hard single up the middle with one out in the eighth to plate the Panthers' only run of the night. Prior to the run-scoring single, Chapman (0-1) capitalized on a pair of infield errors which prolonged the inning, putting a runner in scoring position. The Panthers had only four runners reach second base all game.
The No. 11-ranked Tigers gave Lucero all the run support he'd need before he even walked to the mound, striking for four runs in the top of the first inning. Trinity (1-0) rallied with four singles and a hit batter to take a 4-0 lead, the big hit coming from OF Pat Hirschberg who drove in two with a base hit up the middle.
Trinity would tack on a run in the sixth on an RBI single by OF Will Donnan, knocking Chapman junior RHP Justin Hanks out of the game. Hanks had settled down after a rough first inning and retired 13 of 15 batters, until a two-out walk and back-to-back singles in the sixth led to his exit. He finished with three strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
After Surnbrock's single in the eighth chased Lucero, freshman RHP Colin Serkowski induced a 4-6-3 double play to end any hope of a Chapman rally. Serkowski then pitched a scoreless ninth – allowing just a hit to freshman DH Matt Gandy – to pick up his first save for Trinity.
Junior IF Christian Muscarello gave Trinity some insurance in the ninth with a two-run homer to left of Chapman junior LHP Andrew Carbajal.
Chapman and Trinity will play the middle game of their three-game series on Friday night with the first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. at Hart Park.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director