CLAREMONT, Calif. — The University of La Verne baseball team used a three-run ninth inning to beat Pomona-Pitzer, 6-3, on Friday afternoon at Alumni Field.
La Verne improve to 15-4 overall and 8-2 in the SCIAC. Pomona-Pitzer falls to 10-7 and 3-7.
The Leopards took advantage of a pair of errors in the fateful ninth. After the Sagehens tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Andrew Douglas walked to lead of the ninth and Christopher Peres followed with a single to set the table for the middle of the order. Jakob Thomas then went for a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position but Pomona-Pitzer pitcher Casey Hershfield airmailed the throw to first and Douglas scored the go-ahead run. Tanner Nishioka committed another error at second with two outs, allowing Peres to score, and Anthony Gonzalez added an insurance maker with an RBI single to give the Leopards a 6-3 lead.
Nick Byrd (5-0) set down the Sagehens in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win for La Verne. Byrd came on with one out in the eighth inning and picked up the win.
The Leopards pushed across three runs in the second inning to open the scoring and held a narrow edge for most of the game. Gonzalez brought Thomas home with a sacrifice fly for the first run and Nolan Henley smacked a two-out double to deep center to score Nicholas Michaels and Daniel McDonnell.
The Sagehens immediately got two back in the bottom of the second on RBI singles by Matt Omori and Kevin Brice and neither team scored until the eighth.
Kevin Jordan led off the Sagehen eighth with a single, Simon Rosenbaum doubled and Bryce Rogan plated the tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Brent Backlund, who has emerged as the Friday ace for the Leopards, pitched 7.1 solid innings before giving way to Byrd in the eighth. He struck out four, didn't walk anybody and gave up three runs on nine hits.
Hershfield (1-3) was charged with three unearned runs and tagged with the loss.
The Leopards host the Sagehens tomorrow for a doubleheader at Ben Hines Field. First game starts at 11 a.m.