Walk-off lifts Chapman to series sweep over Claremont

Greg Dillon (photo by Larry Newman)
Greg Dillon (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – A walk-off walk and a two-hitter lifted the Chapman University baseball team to a weekend series sweep over visiting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, taking both ends of a doubleheader 6-5 and 6-1 at Hart Park on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers came back with four runs in the bottom of the ninth in the first game of the day and then received outstanding pitching in finale for their fourth consecutive win.

As a result of the three-game sweep, Chapman (9-8, 8-4 SCIAC) climbed above .500 for the first time this season and moved from a sixth-place tie on Friday into a five-way tie for second place in the crowded SCIAC standings, one game behind Occidental who sits alone in first.

Game 1: Chapman 6, Claremont 5

In a game that seemed lost for the Panthers trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, Chapman rallied for four runs to walk off with a 6-5 win. Junior OF Andrew Carbajal drew the bases loaded walk-off walk to give Chapman its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Sophomore SS Greg Dillon, who went 3-for-4 in the game, sparked the ninth-inning rally by singling in freshman Tyler Cook with no outs. Junior 2B Eddie Aguayo then scored on a wild pitch, narrowing the Stags' lead to 5-4. After a sacrifice bunt placed runners in scoring position, junior OF Connor Battaglia came up with a clutch single that drove in Dillon to tie the game. Freshman DH Matt Gandy was then intentionally walked after hitting a solo home run earlier in the game, loading the bases Carbajal.

The Panthers received a solid start from freshman RHP Braden Riddle, who earned the no-decision after allowing five runs and eight hits in 8.2 innings. Freshman RHP Galen De Nevers earned the win in his collegiate debut, tossing just one pitch as he closed the ninth inning on a flyout.

Boxscore: http://www.chapmanathletics.com/sports/bsb/2012-13/boxscores/20130309_7c3i.xml

Game 2: Chapman 6, Claremont 1

The Panthers put together another four-run inning, this time providing some much-needed insurance in the eighth. Leading just 2-1, the first five batters of the inning reached base for Chapman, including RBI singles by Dillon and Aguayo. Freshman 3B Matt Molnar followed with a sac fly and Battaglia an RBI groundout to give the Panthers a five-run cushion.

The extra offense was in support of freshman RHP Matt Smith who also earned his first collegiate victory by surrendering just one hit and one unearned run over seven innings while striking out four. Smith and junior RHP Taber Watson combined on the two-hitter to extend Chapman's winning streak to four. Watson remained unscored upon this season with two shutout innings of relief and collected five strikeouts, including striking out the side in the ninth.

Dillon gave Chapman an early 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two-run single up the middle. The sophomore leadoff hitter has now hit safely in the last 13 games and is batting .446 (35-for-56) during that span. He finished with three RBI in the game.

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director

Boxscore: http://www.chapmanathletics.com/sports/bsb/2012-13/boxscores/20130309_lu5i.xml

Watch Greg Dillon's postgame interview
Become a fan of Chapman Athletics on Facebook
Follow Chapman Athletics on Twitter @ChapmanSports
Post your #PantherPic to Instagram @ChapmanSports
#CUPanthers