ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team earned its ninth victory in a row with a 9-4 win over Cal Lutheran (15-11, 5-8 SCIAC) earlier this afternoon. The Panthers (19-7, 4-6 SCIAC) were led by juniors Tristan Kevitch and Andrew Mendonca, who each went yard to lift Chapman to victory over the defending national champions.
After a scoreless inning in the first, junior Jarod Penniman started the scoring for the Panthers. With seniors Jared Love and Conner Larkin on first and second, Penniman singled up the middle, scoring Love from second and giving Chapman an early 1-0 lead. Junior pitcher Matt Mogollon struck out two of three batters in the top of the third, followed by a three up, three down bottom of the third for the Panthers.
The Kingsmen scored their first run in the top of the fourth, tying the game at one run apiece. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Mendonca stepped up to the plate and hit a solo home run to left field, giving the Panthers the 2-1 advantage heading into the fifth.
Penniman singled to start the bottom of the fifth, followed by a couple of outs that advanced him to second. Cue the two-out rally from sophomore Aaron Wong. The second baseman singled to right field, scoring Penniman from second. Wong stole second, followed by an error from Cal Lutheran's third baseman that allowed him to score, putting Chapman up 4-1 with four innings left to play.
After another run from the Kinsgmen in the top of the sixth, the Panthers hit their stride in the bottom half of the inning. Mendonca walked as the leadoff hitter, followed by a monster triple down the right field line from senior Conner Larkin that scored Mendonca all the way from first. Penniman stepped up and hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring the speedy Larkin from third. With two outs down, junior Alex Tsuruda doubled to left field to get in scoring position. Wong stepped up to the plate and got his second RBI on the day when he singled to right field, scoring Tsuruda. After a pitching change from the Kingsmen, Kevitch stepped up and went yard on the sixth pitch, giving the Panthers their fifth run of the inning and a 9-2 lead heading into the seventh.
Cal Lutheran scored one run in each of the seventh and ninth innings, but Chapman's strong hitting prevailed. Mogollon is now tied for first in the SCIAC with five wins. The right-hander tallied five strikeouts and just two earned runs in the win. Junior Mason Collins came in to relieve in the final two innings, allowing two hits and one run in the effort. Penniman went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run this afternoon.
Chapman heads to Cal Lutheran tomorrow, March 31 to finish out the series with a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. but returns home to Hart Park on Saturday, April 7 at 11 a.m. for a doubleheader against Caltech.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant