LA VERNE, Calif. — The La Verne baseball team mounted a late rally and beat Chapman 8-7 on a walk-off single by Brandon Vogel in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at Ben Hines Field. The Leopards couldn't sustain the momentum in the nightcap, however, as they lost 13-3 in seven innings.
La Verne moves to 14-7 in SCIAC play (20-16 overall) and takes sole possession of second place in the conference standings, two games behind leader Cal Lutheran. Chapman goes to 22-12 and 13-8.
The hits came fast and furious in the first game has the teams combined for 27 hits.
The Panthers scored three runs in the top of the eighth on a two-run double by Joe Jimenez and an RBI single by Aaron Wong to grab a 7-5 lead, but the Leopards tied it back up immediately in the next half inning. Nicholas Michaels singled home Dylan Lowenstein, who had hit a double, and Andrew Douglas followed with a single up the middle to put runners on the corners with one out. Justin Wright then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Michaels to tie the game at 7-7.
Closer Cody Norman pitched a scoreless top of the ninth and the offense executed. With one out, Ashton Edior legged out an infield single to short and Jacob Benson punched a single to right field to put runners on first and third. The Panthers elected to intentionally walk Lowenstein to load the bases but Brandon Vogel came through with a single to end the game.
Norman (2-1) picked up the win and Chapman's Jonathan Hernandez (3-3) was tagged with the loss.
La Verne's bats cooled down in the second game while Chapman's stayed hot. The Panthers collected 17 hits and scored in each of the final six innings of the game to salvage a split.
Chapman scored the first seven runs of the game before the Leopards answered with a three-run home run by Dylan Lowenstein in the bottom of the fifth. The momentum didn't last long, however, as the Panthers broke the game open with a five-run sixth and added a run in the seventh to invoke the run-rule.
The Leopards are back in action next weekend against Whittier.