TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of La Verne baseball team opened its 2015 season with a pair of two-game series against No. 5 Linfield and Pacific Lutheran
Game 1: Pacific Lutheran 5, La Verne 4 (Box score)
The Leopards tallied 10 hits, including three from newcomer Matt Caselli, but could not overcome an early deficit in a 5-4 loss to Pacific Lutheran on Friday.
The Lutes jumped on Iniguez early with four runs on six hits in the top of the first and added a run in the third inning to get out to a 5-0 lead.
The Leopard bats, which were held to three hits in the first four innings, woke up in the fifth. Tyler Watkins got on base after getting hit by a pitch, Caselli followed with a single and Jebbia brought in Watkins with double to put the Leopards on the board. La Verne then loaded the bases with another hit-by-pitch and Henley and Thomas followed with a pair of singles to score three runs and bring the Leopards within a run.
But Pacific Lutheran relievers Cory Nelson and A.J. Konopaski combined to throw 4.2 shutout innings the rest of the way to preserve the win for the Lutes.
Five players had had two hits each for Pacific Lutheran.
Game 2: No. 5 Linfield 13, La Verne 5 (Box score)
Pitching struggled out of the gate in a 13-5 loss to No. 5 Linfield in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
Linfield came out firing with four runs in the first inning as they took advantage of two walks and strung together five hits.
La Verne got one back immediately in the bottom of the first with a two-out RBI single by Ben White, but that was all they would score until the seventh inning.
The Wildcats added eight runs in the second, third and fourth innings to essentially put the game out of reach.
The Leopards staved off a run-rule loss in the bottom of the seventh. After Jebbia walked and White doubled, Ashton Edior drove in Jebbia with a sacrifice fly to left and Thomas followed with a single to bring in White.
La Verne carried the momentum into the eighth as it loaded the bases to lead off the inning and Caselli brought home Mark Abbate with a single. But Jebbia grounded out to a double play in the next at-bat and the Leopards just settled for one more in the inning.
White finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and Nikko Williams had two hits.
Game 3: No. 5 Linfield 10, La Verne 7 (Box score)
Caselli had another three-hit game and La Verne grabbed a 5-4 lead after four innings, but the Leopards couldn't hold Linfield in the next two innings in a 10-7 loss.
The Leopards capitalized on Linfield's mistakes in the third inning for three runs. Watkins walked, Woody Reyes reached on an error and Caselli got the Leopards on the board with a double. Reyes then scored on a ground out to short and Edior drove in Caselli with a single.
La Verne added two more on RBI singles by Watkins and Caselli in the fourth to grab a 5-4 lead, but the Wildcats answered with five runs of their own in the next two innings and never looked back.
Game 4: La Verne 9, Pacific Lutheran 5
Story and box score coming soon.