LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne baseball team and Whittier combined for 29 runs, but the Leopards outlasted the Poets behind Javi Iniguez, who threw 2.2 scoreless innings to finish the game.
La Verne improves to 16-6 overall and 9-4 in SCIAC play. Whittier falls to 5-16 and 2-8.
Both lineups were potent but the Leopards' explosive eight-run third inning and Iniguez's performance proved the difference.
The two teams traded heavy blows out of the gate. Whittier opened the scoring in the top of the first inning on a single by Jake Raynaud and the Leopards punched right back with four runs in the bottom half of the inning as the they strung together three hits.
The Poets went on to score eight runs in the next four innings and the Leopards expoloded for eight runs in the third to keep pace.
"My only thought was to stay with it and last," La Verne coach Scott Winterburn said. "We all had to last in this game because it was going to be a long one and it certainly turned out to be a long one."
The Leopards had taken a 13-5 lead after third but the Poets kept chipping away at it and got within 14-12 in the seventhas Tanner Marcoe led off the seventh with a walk and the Poets followed it with two doubles and single.
Winterburn then tapped Iniguez and the senior delivered. He was shaky to start, walking a batter and hitting one, but got out of the seventh and turned in La Verne's first 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. He got in a hole in the ninth as the leadoff batter reached on an error and gave a single to the next hitter, but retired the next three in order to earn his second save of the season.
In his last three apperances, Iniguez has thrown 11.2 innings and given up just one run.
"Javi was struggling a little in the beginning of the season to find his command, which is his hallmark" Winterburn said. "Javi's done a better job with his fastball the past couple outings and the results are right there."
Whittier's Max Bradshaw paced all players with four hits and Raynaud went 3-for-6 with four RBI.
The Leopards travel to Whittier for a doubleheader. First game starts at 11 a.m.