ORANGE, Calif. – Senior pitcher Matt Smith tossed a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead the Chapman University baseball team to their first SCIAC win. The Panthers defeated Occidental College 8-5 at Hart Park on Friday afternoon.
Senior Tyler Cook set the tone of the game for the Panther offense in the second inning going yard to the left side to lift the Panthers to an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Jared Love followed up with a double and then scored off of an off-the-wall triple by sophomore Conner Larkin to bring Chapman to a 2-0 lead at the end of the second.
In the third the Tigers compiled a pair of hits to tighten the score 2-1 with an RBI by Devon DeRaad. However, the Panthers continued to edge Occidental when Cook drove in another run for Chapman in the third scoring senior Greg Dillon on sacrifice fly to left field to lift Chapman to a 3-1 lead.
The Panthers tacked on another four runs in the fifth, including a homerun by freshman Andrew Mendonca, to improve to a 7-2 lead over Occidental.
The Tigers posted a pair of runs in the sixth and another pair in the eighth but ultimately fell short stringing together five runs off of 11 hits.
Smith improved to 1-1 on the season after tossing a full five innings and giving up just 6 hits. Meanwhile Cook was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate scoring three runs and recording a pair of RBI.
The Panthers will travel to Occidental College Saturday, Feb. 20 for a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.
by Raquel Rinauro
Sports Information Assistant