WHITTIER, Calif. — Late-inning pitching woes cost the University of La Verne baseball team as it dropped both games of a doubleheader against Whittier on Saturday at Memorial Field.
La Verne falls to 16-8 overall and 9-6 in SCIAC play. Whittier improves to 7-16 and 4-8.
Game 1: Whittier 6, La Verne 3
The Leopards jumped out to an early lead and starter Alex Bernstein pitched well, but Whittier rallied for four runs in the eighth en route a 6-3 victory in the first game.
With the game tied at 2-2, Whittier loaded the bases to start the bottom of the eighth and cleared the bases as pinch hitter Max Morohashi came through with a single to right field and Nicholas Michaels muffed the play. Morohashi advanced all the way to third on the play and scored on an groundout by Brandon Mulrooney to give the Poets a 6-3 lead.
La Verne packed the bases with two outs in the ninth to chase Whittier starter Max Garcia and scored a run as reliever Zachary Peyton committed a balk but there weren't enough out left for a comeback.
The Leopards pushed a run across in each of the first two innings to grab an early advantage. Woody Reyes was hit by a pitch to start the game and eventually came around to score on a passed ball. Reyes then came up with a two-out RBI single in the top of the second to give the Leopards a 2-0 lead.
The Poets evened the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth as Matthew Macey hit a two-run homer. Bernstein quickly got the first two hitters out but extended the inning with walk and Macey pounced.
Bernstein went six innings and fanned five while giving up six hits.
Nick Byrd (5-1,, who was on the mound in the fateful eighth, was charged with his first loss.
Garcia (2-4) threw 8.2 innings while striking out seven and picked up the win.
Game 2: Whittier 2, La Verne 1
Max Bradshaw hit a walkoff home run to lift the Poets to a 2-1 win in the second game.
Bradshaw led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot to right and pinned the loss on Javi Iniguez, who was on a hot streak.
In a far cry for yesterday's series opener at Ben Hines Field, both pitching staffs kept the bats quiet.
Tim Turpen received the starting assignment for Whittier and went 6.2 innings without giving up an earned run. Justin Kottinger and Royce Komesu combined to throw perfect 2.1 innings to finish the game.
Anthony Braun was tapped to start for La Verne and the freshman southpaw turned in his best outing of his young career. The Whittier native tossed 7.1 innings of one run ball and scattered just five hits while punching out four.
Whittier broke through first in the bottom of the sixth as Brandon Mulrooney led off with a hit by pitch and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Macey. The Leopards answered right back in the top of the seventh as Anthony Gonzalez reached on an error, was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt and Nolan Henley knocked him in with a single up the middle.
The Leopards will get a break from SCIAC action next week and host Pacific Lutheran for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.