REDLANDS, Calif. — The bats woke up and Jakob Thomas came up clutch on the mound as the University of La Verne baseball team beat Redlands, 10-6, in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader at the Yard on Saturday afternoon.
The Leopards managed only three runs in the first two games of the series against the Bulldogs. La Verne lost the first game, 5-3.
Thomas, who started the game at third base, moved on to the hill with runners at the corners in the eighth and struck out the side to get the Leopards out of a tough jam. Thomas came back out in the ninth and induced three straight grounders to preserve the win.
He was 1-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two clutch RBI.
Ben White went 3-for-4 and slugged a two-run homerun in the eighth inning. He was a double shy of the cycle.
La Verne starter Brett Early (1-0) shook off a four-run Redlands third and pitched seven gritty innings to pick up his first win of the season.
The Leopards struck first and scored in each of the first three innings to grab the early edge. Ashton Edior reached on an error by the shortstop and White cashed him in with a two-out single in the first inning. Zach Quinones had an RBI single in the second and La Verne took a 3-1 lead in the third when Thomas scored on a wild play after a single by Mark Jebbia.
But the Bulldogs pieced together four runs in five hits in the bottom of the third to wrestle the momentum away. The first five hitters reached for Redlands and Jordan Dresner, Tyler Shreve and Ryan Franklin each drove in a run.
Thomas then knocked in the go-ahead runs in the sixth with a double down the left field line that scored Edior and Andrew Douglas.
Game 1: Redlands 5, La Verne 3
Jebbia went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, but Redlands rode a solid pitching performance en route to a 5-3 win in the first game.
Jebbia and Jared Hovsepian came up with two consecutive hits in the top of the seventh get the Leopards within two.
La Verne then got at least a runner on in the eighth and the ninth, but couldn't break through with a big hit.
A three-run Redlands fourth proved the difference. The Leopards got the leadoff hitter out but Redlands promptly loaded the bases with a single, a hit batter and a walk. Then Mark Tumlison smacked a double down the right field line to knock in two and Connor Hancock worked a bases-loaded walk to give the Leopards a 5-1 lead.
Jebbia drove in La Verne's first run in the second with a sacrifice fly to center.
Phillip Parga had his first multi-hit game as a Leopard, going 2-for-4.
Matthew Acosta earned the win, going seven innings while giving up three runs.
La Verne returns to action next Friday at Whittier. First pitch is at 2:30 p.m.