ORANGE, Calif. – A seven-run seventh inning gave the No. 16 Chapman University baseball team an 8-5 win over No. 5 Texas Lutheran on Thursday. All seven runs were scored with two outs, turning a three-run deficit into a four-run advantage.
With two outs and two one, sophomore Henry Zeisler sent a long fly ball to left center that drifted over the 2003 National Champions sign in left center field for a game-tying, three-run opposite field homer. The three-run shot tied the game at 4-4 and was just the beginning of a seven-run rally.
The Panthers (9-3) had managed just one run on five hits through the first six innings. Freshman Brad Shimabuku drove in the Panthers first run in the fifth to make it 2-1 at the time. Texas Lutheran's Chad Curtis led off the sixth with a solo home run and the Bulldogs (7-3) added an unearned run in the seventh to make it 4-1.
After Zeisler's big swing to tie the game, the Panthers continued to put the pressure on. Freshman Miguel Cebedo tripled to right center to spark the second half of the rally. A bouncer to short looked like it would end the inning but the throw sailed over the first baseman's head, allowing Cebedo to score easily for a 5-4 Panther lead.
After a pitching change, a walk was followed by senior Jarod Penniman's single into left that scored Cheli for a 6-4 lead. Junior Joe Jimenez followed a balk with grounder to the right side. TLU's second baseman dove into shallow right field but had no play at first as he rolled over and both runners were able to come home to make it 8-4.
Senior Mason Collins tossed the seventh inning, allowing just an unearned run on a couple of hits to pick up the win. Sophomore Nick Garcia trotted to the mound for the eighth inning. The hard throwing righty struck out two of the first three batters with a single up the middle sandwiched in between the strikeouts. A third strikeout bounced away from Jimenez, allowing Thomas Varner to reach first safely and extend the inning. The next batter singled into center for the first run off Garcia in 10 innings this year.
Garcia stuck out the next batter for a four-strikeout inning. He struck out two more in the ninth to close out the game and finalize the 8-5 win.
Chapman and Texas Lutheran are scheduled for another game on Saturday at 1 p.m.