ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University Panthers earned a couple of victories over the visiting East Texas Baptist University Tigers earlier this evening, taking the series after dropping game one yesterday. Senior Tristan Kevitch batted .429 on the day with two RBIs and a clutch stolen base in the bottom of the ninth to keep the Panthers in game one.
Game 1 – Chapman 7, East Texas Baptist 6 – 11 Innings
After two scoreless innings Chapman was the first team to get on the board when sophomore Henry Zeisler grounded out to shortstop, allowing the runner on third to score. Senior Jonathan Hernandez led the Panthers through another scoreless innings before the Tigers were able to score some runs in the top of the fifth. With a runner on third and one out, senior Zach Gartner singled to left field to tie the game. Senior Seth Mikeska then stepped up to the plate, hitting one out of the park to give East Texas Baptist a two-run lead.
Chapman added another run in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to just one run with three innings left to play. A 1-2-3 top of the sixth from Hernandez brought the Panthers back up to the plate. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Aaron Wong was hit by a pitch, allowing the runner on third to score and tie the game. After a pitching change from the Tigers Kevitch singled up the middle to bring in a run, followed by a single to center field from freshman Miguel Cebedo, giving Chapman a 5-3 lead.
East Texas Baptist fought back, scoring one run in the top of the seventh and a pair in the top of the eighth to regain the lead. In the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, the Tigers attempted to throw Zeisler out on a back-pick to first. Seeing his opportunity, Kevitch took off from third, sliding past the catcher to steal home and send the game into extra innings.
Sophomore Nick Garcia was lights out for the Panthers in extra innings, earning his second win by striking out five batters while preserving the tie into the bottom of the 11th. Sophomore Mack Cheli led off for the Panthers, taking a walk to put a runner on base. Freshman Ben Mollahan stepped in to pinch run for the designated hitter and advanced to second when senior Jarod Penniman hit a sacrifice bunt. Junior Joe Jimenez then grounded out to the shortstop, advancing Mollahan to third. Junior Mitchell Briggs stepped up to the plate with two outs and walked off to center field, sending the Panthers rushing onto the field.
Game 2 – Chapman 5, East Texas Baptist 3
The Panthers struck hard in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs to take an early lead. A couple of errors from the Tigers put runners on first and second with junior Kevin Gegersen at the plate. The catcher singled to left field, loading the bases for Kevitch. Another Tiger error allowed all of the runners to advance and Chapman to score their first run. Cebedo then hit a double, scoring three more runs to give the Panthers a four-run lead.
East Texas Baptist put up a couple of runs in the top of the fourth, but Zeisler added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh when he singled in Kevitch.
The Panthers return to Hart Park on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 11am to host La Verne in a SCIAC doubleheader.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant