Baseball finishes dominant sweep of Caltech

Conner Larkin heads for first out of the batter's box.
Conner Larkin (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – A pair of run-rule victories completed the Chapman University baseball team's series sweep over Caltech on Saturday at Hart Park. The Panthers (23-8, 8-7 SCIAC) posted a second consecutive shutout with a 10-0 win in game one and defeated the Beavers (4-24, 1-17 SCIAC) 11-1 in the second game. Both games were clinched in the Panthers' half of the eighth.

With the wins, the Panthers launched themselves into fifth place in the SCIAC standings and are just a game behind Occidental for the coveted fourth place spot.

Game 1 – W, 10-0

The Panthers' pitching staff continued to be dominant in its second shutout in as many days while the offense came to life late for the run-rule win. Senior Gavin Blodgett put Chapman on top in the first with an RBI-single to score junior Tristan Kevitch, who laced a double to the left center gap to spark the two-out rally, from second.

Both sides went quiet over the first three innings as junior Tyler Peck silenced the Caltech bats. He struck out the side in the second to work around a leadoff walk and struck out eight over six scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits but walked four.

Peck has allowed just two earned runs over his last five starts, which spans 29 innings, and kept the opposition scoreless for the third time in that same span. With his eight strikeouts, he has fanned 43 over those same five starts.

The Panthers' offense picked it up three runs in the fourth and blew the game open with four more in the fifth. Senior Justin Stream's leadoff triple in the fourth set the table for RBI hits from senior Conner Larkin, junior Jarod Penniman and junior Alex Tsuruda. Stream and Larkin came through again in the fifth. Stream knocked in a run with a line drive into center and Larkin smashed a double to deep center field to score two more.

Three walks and three wild pitches did all the damage Chapman needed to do in the eighth as freshman Mack Cheli strolled home on the third wild pitch of the inning to pull the Panthers ahead by 10 runs and clinch the run-rule victory.

Junior Jonathan Hernandez pitched the final two innings to complete the shutout. He struck out one and worked around a walk and a pair of singles to keep the Beavers off the board.

Game 2 – W, 11-1

More dominant pitching and late rallies led to another run-rule win in the eighth inning for Chapman. Junior Christian Cosby provided the dominant outing on the mound while junior Andrew Mendonca drove in four RBIs to lead the Panthers at the plate.

Mendonca put the Panthers on the board with a two-run double down the left field line in the second and later scored on Penniman's sacrifice fly to fuel a three-run second inning. He singled in two more in the seventh as part of a four-run rally in the seventh to put the Panthers up 10-1.

Cosby allowed just one run on four hits and a walk over his six innings of work to pick up his fifth win. The Panthers' hard-throwing righty struck out five and ran the Panthers scoreless streak to 22 and two-thirds innings before allowing the only run of the series to Caltech.

Ari Rosner stroked a two-out single into right to score the runner from third for Caltech's only run and close the gap to 3-1. Chapman responded in the fifth with an RBI-single from Kevitch and a sacrifice fly from Blodgett to go up 5-1.

Cheli once again scored the clincher in the eighth but with a few more fireworks than the first game. The freshman smashed a no-doubt solo homer to left clinch the run-rule victory.

Junior Mason Collins sat down all five batters he faced in order for a perfect relief outing and freshman Cody Turner struck out the only batter he faced to close out the top of the eighth.

The Panthers take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in another crucial three-game series next weekend. Chapman hosts CMS on Friday at 3 p.m. before finishing the series with a doubleheader in Claremont, Calif. on Saturday.

 

By Steven Olveda                                        
Sports Information Director

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