Tsuruda’s two-run homer keeps baseball playoff hopes alive

Alex Tsuruda hits the ball.
Alex Tsuruda (photo by Larry Newman)

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Chapman University baseball team rallied to defeat the Redlands Bulldogs 6-5 in the second game of the double-elimination Western Regional. The Panthers (35-12) were led by junior Alex Tsuruda, who hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to help give Chapman the victory.

The Panthers took an early 2-0 lead when sophomore Aaron Wong hit an opposite-field two-run blast to right field in the bottom of the first. Bulldog senior Kyle Kabeary answered with a solo home run in the top of the second to cut the deficit to one run. Redlands added three more runs in the top of the third to take a 4-2 lead.

With two on and one out in the bottom of the third, senior Jared Love stepped up to the plate and hit a crucial two-RBI single to tie the game at four runs apiece. The Bulldogs responded, tacking on another run in the top of the fourth to take the lead once again.

Junior Christian Cosby came in to relieve for fellow junior Tyler Peck in the top of the fifth with a runner on second and no outs. The right-hander retired the next three batters with a fly-out and two strikeouts to bring the Panthers up to the plate.

Cue a clutch Tsuruda. With sophomore Joe Jimenez on first, the right fielder went yard over the left field wall, giving the Panthers their final lead of the game.

Cosby finished the game strong, striking out five to earn his eighth win of the season. The Panthers dealt Redlands' senior pitcher Adam Stead his first loss of the season, scoring all six runs against the SCIAC Pitcher of the Year.

Tsuruda, Wong and Love each tallied a pair of RBIs in the Panthers' fourth win over the Bulldogs this season. Wong went 3-for-4 with a couple of runs scored to help lead the way.

Chapman continues its playoff hopes tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant

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