Baseball scores seven in the eighth for a come from behind win

Senior pitcher Matt Smith

Senior pitcher Matt Smith winds up against Pomona-Pitzer April 15. The Panthers beat the Sagehens 9-5. Photo by Allie Camp

The Chapman men’s baseball team secured a 9-5 comeback win on April 15 in the first game of three for the weekend against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. The Panthers trailed the entire game until the eighth inning when their offense came alive to score seven runs.

The Panthers (19-12, 13-6) were held scoreless through five innings thanks to a strong outing by Pomona-Pitzer’s starting pitcher David Gerics. The Sagehens (13-17, 6-13) put three runs on the board in the third inning and another two in the top of the fifth. The Panthers then got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, which resulted in a 5-2 deficit heading into the sixth.

The Panthers rallied in the eighth, which started when three of the first four batters were walked to start the inning. With the bases loaded, sophomore utility player Gavin Blodgett hit a single to left field, driving in a run. Another walk with the bases loaded narrowed the lead to one and a follow-up single by junior catcher Aaron Vilaubi tied the game at five each. The Panthers didn’t stop there as the next couple of at-bats resulted in a wild pitch followed by a sacrifice fly to push the score to 9-5.

Freshman pitcher Mason Collins picked up the win after coming into the game for three strong innings and Vilaubi finished the game 2-for-2 at the plate with a stolen base.

The team’s newest signee, a 5-year-old boy named Carter who has leukemia, showed up in the eighth inning to give the Panthers some extra motivation.

“We are ‘Carter strong’ now and he has been truly good for all of our souls,” said Head Coach Scott Laverty. “(The Sagehens’) starting pitcher is really good and luckily we battled a little bit and got some runs off of him to force their coach to look to the bullpen.”

Chapman heads to Pomona-Pitzer on April 16 to play the last two games of the three-game series as it looks to keep control of the third spot in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings.

“The win today was huge for our momentum heading into tomorrow as well as putting us one step closer to securing a spot at the top of the standings,” Laverty said.

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