THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Brett Early pitched complete game and the University of La Verne baseball put up a seven-spot in the sixth inning to defeat No. 1 seed Cal Lutheran 12-3 Friday afternoon at Ullman Stadium in the opening round of the 2015 SCIAC Baseball Postseason Tournament.
With the win, La Verne moves on to face No. 2 seed Redlands, who beat thirde-seeded Pomona-Pitzer 10-4, on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
The La Verne offense exploded in the middle innings. The Leopards broke their scoring seal in the fifth by pushing across three runs and then broke it open in the sixth inning. The Leopards loaded the bases to start the inning and Tyler Watkins and Andrew Douglas followed with consecutive singles to give the Leopards a 6-2 lead. After Ben White worked a walk to load the bases again, Jakob Thomas cashed in two more runs with a push single through the right side and the Leopards capped off the big inning with another run off an error by the shortstop.
The offense as a whole had 15 hits on the day and the Leopards had at least one runner on in eight of nine innings.
La Verne added two insurance runs in the eighth when Ben White doubled and came around to score on an error and Jared Hovesepian doubled to bring in Jakob Thomas, who had reached on the error.
Early (8-2) was shaky at the beginning but settled down to toss his third complete game of the season while giving up just three runs. After allowing two runs in the second, Early put up five shutout frames before allowing a solo home run to Davey Casciola in the eighth inning with the game all but decided.
The Kingsmen put up the first crooked number of the day with two runs in the second. Three consecutive hits from Davey Casciola, Collin Crowl and Max Price, who bunted for a base hit, were followed by an RBI walk from Nico Filice. Although the Leopardss turned a 4-6-3 double play, CLU was able to add a second run. The inning ended when second baseman Andrew Douglas dove deep in the hole, spun on the ground and threw to Brett Early covering first to get the runner by a step.
The La Verne offense was paced by Watkins, White and Hovsepian who each finished with three-hit days. They each had an RBI and combined for five runs. Mark Jebbia and Thomas drove in a pair apiece and Henley, Thomas and Woody Reyes each crossed the plate two times.
If La Verne beats Redlands tomorrow, it will get two chances to win the tournament on Sunday. If the Leopards lose, they will face the winner of the game between Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer at 3 p.m. on Saturday.