ORANGE, Calif. – In a pitcher's duel that took just 2 hours and 22 minutes to complete, the Chapman University baseball team defeated the University of La Verne, 1-0 at Hart Park on Friday. First baseman Mark Saatzer drove in the game winning run in the eighth to secure the win over last year's SCIAC champions.
Junior Justin Hanks took the hill for the Panthers, looking to follow up his last start, when he beat Occidental on Feb. 16. The right-hander did not earn the win, but posted his best performance of the young season, tossing 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just six hits while walking one and striking out four.
Hanks went through most of the game unscathed, until he put two runners on in the eighth inning forcing head coach Tom Tereschuk to call on reliever Taber Watson. La Verne's George Hanna welcomed Watson with a sharply-hit single that would bring Adrian Franc around to score. However, Franc stumbled around third and failed to touch the base. The Panthers appeal to third base was successful and the run was taken off the board.
Hanks was matched pitch-for-pitch by Leopard starter Kevin Knight, who entered Friday's game with a 2-0 record and an 0.93 ERA. Knight threw seven strong innings, but allowed a leadoff single to Adam Velez in the eighth inning that would prove to be the winning run. A sacrifice-bunt by Greg Dillon put Velez into scoring position for Saatzer, who lined a base-hit up the middle to plate the go-ahead run.
Watson remained in the ballgame and closed out the ninth inning, earning the win in 1.1 inning of work. The win is the first of the year for Watson, who has opened the season throwing nine consecutive scoreless innings in five appearances.
Seven different Panthers collected a hit on Friday, including Saatzer, who finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
The Panthers and Leopards will play again on Saturday in a doubleheader at La Verne starting at 11 a.m.
by Ryan Cavinder
Sports Information Assistant
Mark Saazter postgame interview: http://www.chapmanathletics.com/sports/bsb/2012-13/videos/20130222_172716-1-