ORANGE, Calif. – Two comebacks and two one-run wins completed the Chapman University baseball team's sweep of Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday. The Panthers used the dramatic finishes to further their lead in the SCIAC standings and come within a game of clinching the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament.
Game 1 – W, 3-2
Senior Tyler Peck continued his streak of dominant performances with his fourth consecutive double-digit strikeout game. He became the eighth Panther in Chapman's Division III history to surpass 100 strikeouts in a season and now sits at fourth on the leaderboard with 110 strikeouts this year. He needs 24 more to break the single season record.
Peck was dominant from start to finish. He was perfect in his first trip through the order but gave up a leadoff single in the fourth. He fanned 11 batters, walked none and allowed just two hits. The Sagehens scored twice but only one run was earned.
A leadoff triple in the fifth led to the first blemish on the scoreboard with an RBI-groundout. Peck did not allow another hit in his final for innings after the triple. The Panthers mirrored the start in the bottom half of the inning when freshman Miguel Cebedo tripled and scored on classmate Brad Shimabuku's RBI-single.
The freshman duo struck again in the sixth – this time with two outs. Cebedo singled and Shimabuku doubled him home for a 2-1 lead. The lead didn't last long as a leadoff error was followed by a failed pickoff that moved the tying run all the way to third. Another RBI-groundout tied the game at 2-2.
Peck retired the next five batters in order – three on strikeouts – to set up the late inning heroics on the offensive side. Junior Joe Jimenez delivered those heroics when he drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Senior Tristan Kevitch started the inning off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a comebacker.
Sophomore Nick Garcia closed out the ninth to collect his seventh save of the season. The Sagehens threatened with a couple of free passes and a bloop single to load the bases with two outs but Garcia slammed the door with a lineout to end the game.
Game 2 – W, 6-5
The Sagehens jumped on top early with a run in the second and two more in the third. Another run in the fifth and one more in the sixth put Pomona-Pitzer up 5-0 as they looked to avoid the sweep. Jake Patterson led the charge with a couple of RBI hits.
Tyler Yoshihara was cruising through the first five innings, allowing just three singles to the Panthers. However, Chapman broke through in the sixth with two outs. Kevitch led the inning off with a double but a strikeout and fly out left him on third with two outs. Shimabuku drilled his third RBI-hit of the day into left field to put Chapman on the board.
With two in scoring position and two out, senior Jarod Penniman smacked an RBI-single to score both runners and put Chapman back in the game.
The Panther bullpen took over for Mason Collins with two outs in the fifth and combined for four and a third shutout innings to seal the win. With two on and two out, sophomore Riley Glenn came in from the bullpen and struck out a batter to end the threat. He followed with two more scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one more.
Sophomore Cody Turner ended the game with a 1-2-3 ninth to get his fourth save.
While the bullpen kept the Sagehens off the scoreboard, the Chapman offense went back to work in the seventh. With two on and no outs, Kevitch lined a single up the middle to score senior Alex Tsuruda. A sacrifice moved the tying and go-ahead runs into scoring position. Junior Kevin Gregersen crushed a double to the wall in the left center gap, giving the Panthers a 6-5 lead.
With the bullpen cruising, the Panthers pulled off another late comeback win and swept the season series.
Chapman is now two games up in the SCIAC standings with one more series against Caltech left in the regular season. With just one win in the series, the Panthers will clinch the top seed and at least a share of the SCIAC regular season crown for the first time in Chapman's brief SCIAC history.
Chapman hosts Caltech on Friday at 3 p.m. and will honor the Panther seniors prior to first pitch.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director