LA VERNE, CA — The University of La Verne baseball team scored two close wins on Saturday to complete a three-game sweep of the No. 13 Cal Lutheran Kingsmen.
With the wins, the Leopards move into a tie for third place in the SCIAC with a 7-5 conference record. La Verne improves to 20-8 overall, racking up at least 20 victories for the third season in a row. The Leopards move their win streak to six games.
The Kingsmen fall to 18-9 overall and 9-6 in conference play.
Game Three: La Verne 6, Cal Lutheran 5 (12 Innings)
The Leopards capped off the series with their most exciting finish of the stretch.
Knotted up at five in the 12th inning, Ryan Galan led-off with a hard ground ball single through the middle. One pitch late the senior got into scoring position when he swiped second base.
Brandon Shiota stepped up next and did his part, laying down a sacrifice bunt that put the winning run 90 feet from the plate.
That brought up junior Tanner Browning who laid down a bunt that hopped twice to pitcher. Galan took a few steps and paused as Christian Slattery tossed the ball to first for the out. As soon as the throw was made, Galan charged home and dove head first at the plate to beat the tag for the win.
Browning finished the game with three RBI, two runs, and two hits. Catcher Adam Santa Cruz went 4-6 at the plate with a pair of RBI.
Christopher Peres stepped onto the mound for the third game in a row, this time going four innings to pick up his second win of the season. Offensively, the senior finished with three hits and a walk.
Galan totaled four hits and two runs. Jacob Benson added a pair of hits and Shiota added one hit and an RBI.
Game Two: La Verne 9, Cal Lutheran 7
The Leopards rallied for four runs in the seventh to cap off the comeback win in game two.
Trailing by two runs in the seventh, Peres evened the game with a shot over the center field fence that brought in Santa Cruz. Peres finished with a pair of hits and also pitched the final two innings of the game, striking out three to get his fifth save of the season.
La Verne took the 8-7 lead later in the inning when Benson scored on a passed ball. The Leopards then manufactured a run when Shiota and Galan pulled off a double steal to give La Verne a two-run cushion.
After the Kingsmen scored five runs in the sixth to take a 7-3 lead, the Leopards responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning off a sacrifice fly by Shiota and an RBI single from Browning.
Brenden Bergen picked up the win for La Verne.
Game One: La Verne 7, Cal Lutheran 0
Cody Norman was stellar on the mound for the Leopards in the game one shutout on Friday. The Vacaville native struck out six and allowed just five hits in seven innings of work. The Leopards' ace keeps his record perfect on the mound improving to 6-0.
Santa Cruz provided the offensive highlight for the Leopards in the third inning when he hit a two-run shot over the left center fence to score Brandon Vogel, extending La Verne's lead to 3-0.
Ligot kept the Leopards rolling in the sixth with a leadoff triple and then added to the lead when he scored on a wild pitch.
Shiota put the finishing touches on the series-opening win when he singled in Galan and Benson.
Benson finished with two hits and a pair of RBI. Galan added an RBI in the eighth.
Peres had a big all-around game for La Verne finishing with two hits and a run and pitching the final two innings for the Leopards.
With four series left in the season, every game is important for the Leopards who look to improve their seeding for the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.
The Leopards will next face Redlands this Friday with a home game at 3 p.m. before traveling east for a doubleheader against the Bulldogs on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.Watch Live Follow ULV Athletics on Twitter Like us on Facebook Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram