Nine-run eighth inning sparks victory over MIT

The baseball team celebrates a walk-off victory.
photo by Larry Newman

ORANGE, Calif. – A nine-run bottom of the eighth inning gave the No. 13 Chapman University baseball team a 10-4 victory over the visiting Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineers earlier this evening. The Panthers' nine runs turned a three-run deficit into a six-run lead.

Senior Jarod Penniman started the rally as he hit a leadoff single to left field. Juniors Joe Jimenez and Aaron Wong followed suit, hitting a couple of singles to load the bases. Senior Alex Tsuruda stepped up to the plate and singled to right field, driving in the first run of the inning.

With the bases still loaded, freshman Drew Littwin entered the box and ripped one to right field to score one more run. After a pitching change for the Engineers, junior Kevin Gregersen hit into a fielder's choice, but Wong was able to reach home on an error from MIT's catcher and tie the game at 4-4.

With one out and the bases loaded, Tsuruda walked across the plate on a wild pitch, scoring the Panthers' fifth run and taking the lead for the first time in the game. Sophomore Mack Cheli then singled to right field, driving in both runners to make the score 7-4.

With Cheli on first and one out, freshman Brad Shimabuku singled to right field. Penniman stepped in the batter's box for the second time of the inning and was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jimenez hit into a fielder's choice but drove in Cheli to score the seventh run of the inning.

With the bases loaded, Tsuruda drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch for his second RBI of the inning. Junior Mitchell Briggs drew a four-pitch walk to drive in the ninth and final run of the inning and give the Panthers their final six-run lead.

Wong and Penniman both hit 2-for-3 on the evening with a combined three runs scored. Cheli, Littwin and Tsuruda led the squad with two RBIs apiece.

The Panther pitching staff allowed just one hit as six different pitchers took the mound. Sophomore Kyle Joye earned the first win of his career after pitching the seventh and eighth innings. He struck out two batters in the effort. Junior Riley Glenn earned the start, striking out to while allowing two runs. Sophomores Cole Fleming, Cody Turner and Nick Garcia each struck out two batters in a combined three innings pitched. Junior Austin Merrill struck out one in the top of the sixth.

Chapman returns to the yard on Friday, March 29 as they host Occidental at 3 p.m. in the first game of a SCIAC series.

by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant

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