ORANGE, Calif. – Senior Matt Smith and freshman Mason Collins combined for a six-hit shutout of visiting Caltech in a 10-0 Panthers win on Friday. The Panthers used a four-run seventh to clinch the run-rule victory and win for the seventh time in the last nine games.
The Panthers are riding a hot streak in March with a 7-3 record in the month and two more games to play. After a series loss to Cal Lutheran, the Panthers sat at 5-7 overall and 3-3 in SCIAC play. The recent streak has put the Panthers back over .500 at 12-10 and 6-4 in the SCIAC.
Smith set the tone with five strong innings on the mound to get the win for the Panthers. He allowed just four hits and struck out five while walking three. He allowed just two runners to third base in five innings – one advancing on an error and the other was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from left field in the fourth.
Collins was just as sharp on the hill, allowing two hits and striking out a batter in his two innings of work.
Jared Love wasted no time in spotting the Panthers a three-run lead. After a pair of walks to open the bottom of the first, Love drove the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for a three-run homer – his team-leading fourth round-tripper of the season.
Love's homer was the Panthers lone hit of the contest until the fifth inning as David Watson went five strong innings for Caltech. Watson allowed just two Panther hits but both scored runs as Greg Dillon smacked an RBI-single into left in the fifth to make it 4-0 Chapman.
As Caltech dipped into its bullpen, the Panthers' bats caught fire. They smacked six hits to score six runs over the next two innings (two in the sixth and four in the seventh) to grab the run-rule victory.
Five of the Panthers' eight hits went for extra bases, including Love's home run. Freshman Matt Ryhlick hit a run-scoring, pinch hit double in the seventh and was followed by an RBI-triple from Conner Larkin, who leads the team with 20 RBIs. Freshman Andrew Mendonca also smacked a double down the left field line and Konnor Zickefoose laced an RBI-triple to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
The Panthers continue their series with Caltech tomorrow at Caltech with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director