The Chapman baseball team secured two crucial, back-to-back home victories May 1, starting against the fourth place University of Redlands (24-12, 16-9).
Chapman was anchored by a stellar, complete-game shutout performance by senior pitcher Matt Molnar, who struck out five batters and only allowed five hits.
The Panthers capitalized on four Redlands’ errors and other pitching and fielding mistakes en route to a 9-0 victory, which secured the third seed in the conference for the Panthers, and forced Redlands to remain in fourth.
“After the first game, we knew we couldn’t move up in the rankings anymore, but there’s no sense in throwing your stuff out there and going out and losing a game,” Blodgett said. “So we really focused up and tried to get a win.”
Following the game, Chapman took on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (10-26, 8-19) in the last game of the round robin. The Panthers kept up their offensive success with a 10-8 victory over the Sagehens, securing their fifth straight victory in addition to a four-game sweep of the round robin.
Both teams were offensively dominant, racking up 13 hits each. Sophomore second baseman Gavin Blodgett led the way with a three-hit game including a three-run home run and four RBIs. Sophomore center fielder Conner Larkin and senior first baseman Jared Love both added three hits, with Love driving in two runs and Larkin driving in one.
Going forward, Blodgett said the team will maintain high expectations of itself.
“I think we’ve been playing some good baseball so that’s obviously going through our heads,” Blodgett said. “We want to continue that, for sure. If we keep playing hard, keep playing Chapman baseball, I think we’re going to be well off.”
Laverty said the team should take advantage of its late hot streak going into the playoffs.
“We’re going to head up to Cal Lutheran now, and we know that’s all set, so we’ll go up to Cal Lutheran and play them on Friday and then be set for the winner of Redlands and Occidental from there,” Laverty said. “I think it’s more important that we just continue to play well. We got the four wins in this round robin, after playing well the previous weekend, so I think we’re just on a good streak and ready to go.”
Chapman will travel to second place California Lutheran University (27-11, 21-6) April 6 for its first playoff game, with the time yet to be set.