First, last innings hurt Panthers in 9-7 loss to Ithaca

Mark Saatzer (photo by Larry Newman)
Mark Saatzer (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – The first inning and the last inning told the tale of Sunday's non-conference baseball game between visiting Ithaca College and host Chapman University. Ithaca built an early lead thanks to a five-run first and then held off a Chapman rally in the ninth to win 9-7 at Hart Park.

After winning nine straight meetings against the Bombers from 2004-11, Chapman has now dropped three in a row to Ithaca in their annual March matchups.

In a busy first inning, Ithaca (8-4) struck for five runs in the top off the first off Panthers' freshman RHP Connor Williams. Bombers' junior IF Colby Gee and senior DH Kevin Primm each drove in two with doubles in the inning and Ithaca capitalized on a pair of Chapman errors to score two unearned runs.

As would become a theme in the game, Chapman (11-11) had a response but not quite equal. Sophomore SS Greg Dillon – one day after seeing his 16-game hitting streak come to an end at Pomona-Pitzer – led off with a double, preceding a single by freshman 3B Matt Molnar and an RBI double by junior 1B Mark Saatzer. After an RBI groundout, freshman C Matt Gandy singled in Saatzer to make the score 5-3 Bombers.

Williams settled in after that, shutting out Ithaca on three hits over the next four innings and the score remained 5-3 until the bottom of the sixth, when Chapman got within one with a run in the inning.

Ithaca extended its lead to 6-4 in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly and the Panthers again rallied but couldn't even the score – Gandy with another RBI single that plated junior OF Connor Battaglia to make it 6-5.

The Bombers added what would prove to be some very necessary insurance runs in the top of the ninth, getting four straight hits all with two outs, including a two-run double from freshman OF Cameron Oathout which made the score 9-5.

Chapman (11-11) made it interesting in the bottom of the inning, drawing two walks before Gandy came up with his third run-scoring single of the afternoon. A hit batter loaded the bases with one out, but despite an RBI infield single by senior OF Tyler Surnbrock, Ithaca shut the door on the Panthers.

Gandy finished 4-for-5 with three RBI and a stolen base and Saatzer went 3-for-4 to lead Chapman offensively. Ithaca out-hit the Panthers 15-13 in the game.

Chapman dropped back to .500 for the season and will host University of Rutgers-Newark on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Hart Park.

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director


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