Baseball splits doubleheader against Whittier College

Senior pitcher Matt Molnar pitches against Whittier College April 9. Photo by Allie Camp.

Senior pitcher Matt Molnar pitches against Whittier College April 9. Photo by Allie Camp.

Chapman’s baseball team split a doubleheader against Whittier College on Saturday before a rain delay postponed Friday’s game after the second inning. However, the Panthers secured a walk-off win in the morning game, giving Chapman an eight-game winning streak before an extra innings loss in the afternoon game.

The Panthers (18-12, 12-6) got off to a quick start in the first inning of game one with an RBI single from sophomore infielder Jared Love to take a 1-0 lead.

Whittier (8-20, 5-12) then answered with a three-run home run in the sixth inning. The Panthers then brought home two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game. In the bottom of the ninth inning, senior outfielder Greg Dillon hit a sacrifice fly and freshman outfielder Anthony DeNiro scored to give Chapman a 4-3 walk-off win.

“The first game we put up a good fight and we played good defense and had some timely hits which is all you can ask for and ended up coming out on top,” said senior infielder Tim Alhanati.

Game two was a tough loss to bear for the Panthers, as it lasted 12 innings. Whittier got out to a 3-0 lead going into the fifth inning, but the Panthers fought back with runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth to tie the game a 3-3.

Whittier scored another run in the 11th inning before junior infielder Gavin Blodgett responded with a home run to tie and extend the game. Whittier answered with a go-ahead RBI double and Chapman could not respond, resulting in a 5-4 loss.

Freshman infielder Andrew Mendoca hits a foul ball against Whittier College April 9. Photo by Allie Camp.

Freshman infielder Andrew Mendoca hits a foul ball against Whittier College April 9. Photo by Allie Camp.

“The second game we found ourselves behind and we were able to battle back and tie it up,” said Head Coach Scott Laverty. “We had opportunities, but we just couldn’t put that last shot through. We are in the hunt for the conference title and we expect to finish out the regular season in the top four.”

The split retained the Panthers’ third place standing in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings.

“We have to go to try and finish the other game and it’s 9-5 them in the bottom of the second,” Laverty said. “It was a wet cluster and we will be down four runs when the game resumes so we really need to be ready and get ourselves going.”

“This season we have let some games slip away from us, but I know if we play our game we can beat anybody,” Alhanati said.

Chapman traveled back to Whittier on Sunday to finish the previously postponed first game of the series. The game returned to the second inning with Whittier leading 9-5.

Whittier put up another three runs in the bottom of the second inning, before Chapman responded with three runs of its own in the third inning.

While Chapman did not surrender another run in the game, the damage done from the hectic nine-run first inning during the rain on Friday was too much for the Panthers to overcome.

Chapman closed the gap to two runs in the ninth inning, and had a chance to tie the game with the bases loaded, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize, losing 12-10.

Chapman has six games left in the regular season, starting with a three game series against Pomona-Pitzer on April 15 and April 16.

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