Eighth inning outburst leads to comeback win

Aaron Vilaubi (photo by Larry Newman)
Aaron Vilaubi (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. - Twelve batters came to the plate, seven runs came across and the Chapman University baseball team used the big inning to secure a 9-5 win over visiting Pomona-Pitzer on Friday. The Panthers (19-12, 13-6 SCIAC) climbed out of a 5-0 hole to get the key victory.

Chapman trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning but rallied to steal the series-opening win away from the Sagehens. Three of the first four batters in the inning walked to load the bases with one away. Sophomore Gavin Blodgett delivered the first blow with a one-run single to cut the lead to two and was followed by a bases loaded walk to Alex Tsuruda to narrow the lead to one. Junior Aaron Vilaubi, who came off the bench in the sixth, slapped a seeing-eye single through the left side to score two more runs and give the Panthers their first lead of the ballgame.

Vilaubi ended the game 2-for-2 with a stolen base and was one of three Panthers with a pair of hits in the game.

The Panthers weren't done as they padded the lead with runs coming home on a wild pitch and a passed ball to make it 7-5. Conner Larkin's second trip to the plate in the inning resulted in a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 9-5 before Pomona-Pitzer was able to end the rally.

The eighth inning was the first time the Sagehens had to dip into the bullpen after a quality start from David Gerics. He went seven innings while allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out four and didn't issue a walk. Gerics didn't allow a hit until the fourth and pitched himself out of jams created by three early Sagehens errors.

Three relievers came in to pitch the eighth for Pomona-Pitzer. Chapman also used three relievers in the game but Mason Collins picked up his second win after three strong innings. He did not allow a run and faced the minimum after getting two inning-ending double plays. The bullpen combined for six and two-thirds innings, allowing only two runs on five hits and getting four double plays. 

The Sagehens' runs all came in the first five innings in large part thanks to Panthers miscues. A mistake-ridden first three innings gave Pomona-Pitzer the advantage as it took advantage of the extra opportunities. Despite getting only one hit, the Sagehens took advantage of two Panther errors, four walks and a hit batter to plate their first three runs. Another error and a double in the fifth brought in their fourth and fifth runs.

Tim Alhanati's RBI-double and Greg Dillon's RBI-chopper brought in the Panthers first two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Chapman heads to Pomona-Pitzer tomorrow for a key doubleheader to conclude the three-game series.


by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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