After taking sole possession of first place with a win over Cal Lutheran in the series opener on Friday, the University of La Verne baseball team increased its lead in the SCIAC standings by sweeping the Kingsmen in the doubleheader Saturday at Mt. SAC's Mazmanian Field.
The Leopards defeated Cal Lutheran 6-3 in the first game before earning a 13-3 triumph in eight innings in the nightcap.
La Verne's offense was led by junior Jason Moralez and his standout performance at the plate. Moralez went 2-for-5 in the first game and 3-for-4 in the second, totaling eight RBI. His day was highlighted by a three-run triple in the eighth inning of Game 2.
In Game 1, Cal Lu struck first, scoring two runs in the top of the third inning. John Leal led off with a double to left field and Iggy Wagner walked putting two runners on. A Leopard error and an RBI single by Trevor Koons contributed to the runs.
The Leopards took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning. Singles by Zach Canfield, George Holland and Jacob Ludvik loaded the bases for the Leos. Moralez singled up the middle scoring the first two runs. Michael Stewart followed with a single to left center scoring the final run of the inning.
La Verne notched two more runs in the fifth inning for a 5-2 advantage. The runs came on an RBI groundout by Moralez and an RBI single by Stewart. Cody Hazel hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to pad the Leopard lead.
The Kingsmen threatened in the ninth, scoring a run on a double by Nick Boggan. With two outs on the board and the bases loaded, Nathan Rollon struck out the final batter to end the game with a 6-3 La Verne victory.
The win went to starting pitcher Kevin Knight while Rollon picked up the save after pitching the final 4.2 innings.
La Verne started off game two with a 2-0 lead after the first inning. With two runners on, Moralez and Albert Ramos hit back-to-back singles to score the two runs.
Cal Lu drew even at 2-2 in the second inning when it capitalized off of a Leopard error and then scored again when Leal singled to right center. The Kingsmen took a 3-2 lead in the third when Nick DeLorenzo hit an RBI ground out.
The Leopards enjoyed three big innings, scoring three runs in the fifth and seventh, then five in the eighth, forcing the 10-run mercy rule to end the game after eight complete innings.
With an 8-3 lead heading into the eighth, La Verne would score five runs to end the game by mercy rule. Canfield led off with a walk and then advanced to second after Hanna was hit by a pitch. Ludvik's single to left field scored Canfield. Stewart was hit for the third time in the game to load the bases. Moralez then hit his three-run triple to clear the bases for a 12-3 Leopard advantage. A single by Adrian Franco scored the final run for the 13-3 triumph over the Kingsmen.
Anthony Cerafice earned his fifth win of the season after pitching 7.2 innings.
Along with Moralez, Ludvik also excelled at the plate in the doubleheader going 2-for-4 in the first game with two runs scored, and 4-for-5 in the second with 2 RBI and 4 runs.
"We're very encouraged to be in the position we're in," said Leopard head coach Scott Winterburn. "We hope we can continue the momentum heading into our next game on Friday."
La Verne strengthens its hold on first place in the SCIAC standings with an overall record of 22-10 and a conference record of 17-4. Cal Lutheran remains in second place - three games behind the Leopards - with a league record of 14-7 and 19-11 overall.
The Leos will be on the road on Friday as they take on the Redlands Bulldogs at 3:00 pm in Redlands.