THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Cal Lutheran opened its 2012 season at home on Saturday against San Diego Christian College. The Kingsmen earned an extra innings victory in game one and a seven inning win cut short due to darkness in game two.
Box Score (Game One): CLU 7, SDCC 6 – F/11
Box Score (Game Two): CLU 4, SDCC 1 – F/7
Heavy wind gusts through Saturday created unfavorable playing conditions for both sides. However the Kingsmen defense and hustle proved to be a major factor in a doubleheader sweep of the Hawks.
Cal Lutheran 7, San Diego Christian 6 – F/11
Byron Minnich earned the start on the mound for Cal Lutheran's season opener. It was his program record 62nd career appearance on the mound in a CLU uniform. He finished the day allowing four earned runs in 3.1 innings.
After surrendering four free passes courtesy of two walks and a pair of hit batsmen, Minnich gave way to Peter Ciaramitaro. He contained the damage allowing only one inherited runner to score after entering the contest with one out and the bases full.
On their ensuing team at bat the Kingsmen scored four times to tie the game. A one-out, first pitch, bases clearing double by John Leal sparked the rally. He would play a pivotal role on offense, defense and on the base paths.
Leal scored the game-tying run from second base on a dropped third strike. After advancing to third on the original play he scurried home to beat out the throw. With neither team scoring over the next four innings, he came up big on the defensive end.
Backing up first base from his right field position on a ground ball to third base, he covered an errant throw and got the advancing runner out to start the top of the 11th. He later led off the bottom half of the frame with a leadoff four-pitch walk to represent the game-winning run.
After advancing to third with one out, teammate Iggy Wagner dribbled one a few feet down the third base line. The Hawks catcher picked up the ball and fired to first, Leal came charging home attempting to win the game.
A slight delay ensued before the home plate umpire called Leal safe to complete the Kingsmen comeback. The junior outfielder finished the day with scoring three runs and driving in three more in the victory.
CLU pitcher Chris Park tossed two shutout innings to close out the game and pick up the win. SDCC reliever Jeremy Blare held the Kingsmen scoreless over 4.2 innings allowing just two hits while striking out five batters.
Cal Lutheran 4, San Diego Christian 1 – F/7
Starting pitcher John LaMoure scattered seven hits over six innings to earn a victory in his first start this season. He got the crucial outs when needed stranding eight Hawks on base during his game two effort.
Garrett Smith's second inning RBI-single put the Kingsmen up 2-0, and a fifth inning two-run double by Kevin Leonard put the home side up 4-1. Seven different Kingsmen collected a base hit in the game.
Tyler Hebda closed out the seventh inning to pick up the save. After allowing the first two men on he struck out the following two and held the Hawks scoreless in the frame.
SDCC starter Dylan Jones was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings of work. He walked five and struck out two in the defeat.
The game was called after one out in the seventh inning due to darkness. Game two got underway one hour later than its originally anticipated start time.
Cal Lutheran (2-0) will host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Friday, Feb. 10, in its conference opener.