THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Five players recorded multiple hits for the La Verne baseball team, but the young pitching staff struggled with control early and the Leopards lost 7-5 to No. 22 Cal Lutheran on Thursday at Ullman Stadium. The game was called in the bottom of the eighth inning due to darkness.
The Kingsmen did their damage early as they put the leadoff batter on base in each of the first five innings and scored all of their runs in the first four innings.
La Verne (2-4, 0-1 Southern California Intercollegate Athletic Conference) had a great chance to strike early as Isaiah Cruz and Jakob Thomas led off the game with back-to-back singles. Nicholas Michaels put down a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position but Christopher Ligot struck out and Dylan Lowenstein flied out to end the threat.
Cal Lutheran (3-1, 1-0), coming of a fourth straight SCIAC championship, then took advantage of La Verne starter Nico Gonzalez's early control issues to score three runs in the bottom of the first. The Kingsmen drew three walks in the inning and scored on a wild pitch and a two-run single by Jeff Rebello.
The Leopards led off the top of the third with a single, a double and a walk and cashed in for three runs to tie the game at 3-3. Ligot sacrificed home Cruz with a deep fly out and Lowenstein followed with a single to plate Thomas. The Leopards then loaded the bases again and Andrew Douglas brough Michaels home with a squeeze bunt.
However, the Kingsmen answered right back in the bottom of the third with two runs and tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth to get out to a 7-3 lead.
La Verne added two more runs in the seventh with an RBI double by Douglas and a run-scoring groundout by Justin Wright to make it a two-run game but couldn't complete the comeback.
Cruz, Thomas, Lowenstein, Douglas and Anthony Gonzalez each had two hits.
Trey Saito (2-0) picked up the win for Cal Lutheran, going 5.2 innings while giving up three runs.
The Leopards are back in action on Saturday for a doubleheader against Cal Lutheran at Ben Hine Field.