Chapman knocks off nationally-ranked Kean behind Watson's gem

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ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University baseball team upset No. 5-ranked visiting Kean University with a 6-2 win in a non-conference contest at Hart Park on Monday night thanks to a complete-game four-hitter by senior RHP Taber Watson. The Panthers improved to 9-3 in their past 12 games, including a 4-2 mark on their home field.

It was a bottom of the order, two-out rally in the seventh inning that gave the Panthers the lead for good against their East Coast rivals. A half-inning after Kean (9-2) tied the game at 2-2, Chapman got an infield single from No. 8 hitter junior IF Eddie Aguayo and then an RBI triple by No. 9 hitter sophomore C David Basen, giving the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Basen also had an RBI single in the fifth which led to two Panther runs.

Chapman (10-7) then rallied for three more runs in the bottom of the eighth, including a two-run double by sophomore IF Tyler Cook. The Panthers, who were held hitless for the first four innings by Kean RHP Charles Thielmann (2-1), collected 11 hits over the next four innings, including two each by Dillon, Cook, Basen and sophomore DH Matt Gandy. Thielmann suffered his first loss of the year in a complete game effort, striking out six.

Watson was efficient, if not outstanding on the mound for Chapman. The senior, making his first start of the season, tossed just 95 pitches en route to his first victory (1-1). Watson allowed just one earned run that came the first inning, surrendering a leadoff single to Cougars OF Shane Alvarez, who then went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI groundout. The Chapman right-hander then went on to retire 12 straight batters from the second to the sixth inning and allowed just two hits after the second inning. It was the first complete game for any Panther pitcher this season.

Chapman has now won 12 of 18 meetings against Kean dating back to 2004, including several postseason meetings at the NCAA championships.

The Panthers return to SCIAC play on Friday when they take on Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in Claremont at 2:30 p.m. in the first of a three-game series. The series will shift to Hart Park on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.