LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne baseball team scored a win over one of the top NCAA Division III teams in the nation, beating the No. 8 Centenary (La.) Gentlemen 9-7 Friday evening.
Season Impact: The Leopards improve to 8-5 overall with their second win over a top-10 opponent this season. La Verne opened SCIAC play with a pair of wins over then No. 2 Cal Lutheran. The Gentlemen fall to 7-4 overall.
In a wild game that featured 24 hits and seven errors, the Leopards took the lead for the final time in the bottom of the sixth inning when Nicholas Michaels and Jakob Thomas crossed the plate after a throwing error by Centenary.
Michaels led La Verne offensively finishing 3-5 at the plate with an RBI, a double, and a run scored.
Christopher Peres had a big game for La Verne, scoring twice with one hit. The junior stepped onto the mound in the final inning, striking out one and earning the save.
Centenary and La Verne continually went back-and-forth in the nonconference game with the Leopards answering each time the Gentlemen put runs on the board.
After Centenary took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, the Leopards quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning with Jacob Benson bringing home Peres with a groundout to third. Thomas then added a double that brought home Rudy Casarez III and Mauricio Guadarrama, tying the game 3-3.
Each team traded a pair of runs the following inning and again traded a run apiece in the fifth.
Chris Zapata put Centenary back on top in the sixth with a single to left field that scored Peyton Cormane. In the bottom half of the inning, Thomas led off the inning reaching first on a Gentlemen error. A single by Michaels and a groundout by Adam Santa Cruz put the tying 90 feet from the plate and the go-ahead run on second.
That set up a wild play with Brandon Vogel hitting a grounder to Centenary pitcher Kaleb Kirk. Kirk fired the ball to catcher Zapata to catch Thomas between third and the plate. Zapata threw to third, but his throw rolled into the outfield allowing two runs to score.
Next Game: The Leopards have a day off before returning to action on Sunday at Ben Hines Field. La Verne continues their nonconference action with a doubleheader against Endicott.
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