Baseball sweeps Occidental for 5th-straight playoff appearance

baseball

Senior first baseman Jared Love swings at a pitch against Occidental College April 27. Photos by Diano Pachote

Chapman’s baseball team began this weekend with the potential to secure a playoff spot for the fifth straight year.

With a 12-9 conference record and three games remaining, Chapman needed two wins to continue that streak. But five teams ‒ Chapman, its opponent Occidental College, Whittier College, California Lutheran University and Pomona-Pitzer ‒ all had a chance at making the playoffs. A five-way tie was theoretically possible.

But Chapman expunged those possibilities with a string of dominant performances: two back-to-back 5-0 wins, followed by a 16-5 offensive onslaught.

The first win came on Chapman’s senior day April 27, at the hands of junior pitcher Matt Mogollon. Mogollon pitched a one-hit complete game, tallying 11 strikeouts along the way.

“When Mogollon pitches, we know we are going to win,” Jared Love, a senior first baseman, said after the game. “We needed to win because we are still fighting for a playoff spot.”

Mogollon’s performance marked the second time this season that he’s recorded 11 strikeouts. An Occidental single in the top of the fifth inning and three walks were the only bad marks on a near-perfect outing.

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Sophomore catcher Joe Jimenez looks to throw out a baserunner.

Chapman’s offense scored all five runs in the first two innings.

“It was nice to set this tone for the first games of the series,” said head coach Scott Laverty. “It was great to get the runs on them early.”

Chapman saw another shutout pitching performance April 28, courtesy of junior pitchers Tyler Peck and Mason Collins, followed by an 11-run win.

Chapman will face the University of Redlands May 4 at 3 p.m. in the first round of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoffs, as the third seed.

Love said the team’s pitching depth, coupled with an outstanding offense, gives him optimism and high expectations for the postseason. But he said the team’s focus is firmly on the upcoming game against Redlands.

“I think we can be a World Series team,” Love said. “But it’s baseball, and baseball is crazy. You have to take it one step at a time. If you start looking far in the future, you’ll start dropping games.”