In a successful weekend, the baseball team recorded three conference wins against the California Institute of Technology, in addition to a non-conference win over Pacific University (Ore.) Sunday. With this sweep, the Panthers moved up to third place in the conference.
The Panthers’ series against Caltech came just over a week after the last-place Beavers won their first conference baseball game in 29 years against sixth-place Pomona-Pitzer March 31.
“We’re a confident team,” said junior infielder Jared Love. “We know what we can do as a team. Regardless of whether we won or lost today, we’d be confident tomorrow. We’re just hoping to keep this rolling into the next weekend and hopefully for the rest of the year.”
In the first game of the weekend, the Panthers played the Beavers at Hart Park and walked away with a 10-3 win after scoring in each of the first six innings. In the sixth inning, Love hit a homerun and batted in two runs to bring the score to 10-1.
The Panthers’ offense was not the only strong part of the game. The Beavers weren’t able to score a run until the fifth inning and were only able to get nine hits compared to the Panthers’ 15.
“I liked a lot how we came out and started scoring runs early against a much improved Caltech team,” said head coach Scott Laverty. “(This is) a Caltech team that won their first conference game in almost 30 years last weekend, so they’re on a high. We wanted to make sure that we came out and scored one run in each of the first three innings, put pressure on them, give us a little gap. I’d like to see our energy level be up a little bit. We kind of hit a little bit of a lull in the mid-innings. “
The next day, the Panthers traveled to Caltech to play a doubleheader. In the morning game, the Panthers were losing 3-1 in the fourth inning, which was the only time the Panthers were behind the whole series However, they came back in the fifth inning to lead 4-3 before closing out an 8-5 victory.
In the afternoon game, the Panthers led 5-0 by the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore pitcher Matt Mogollon had 12 strikeouts and seven hits during the nine innings he pitched.
“It’s an important weekend for us,” Laverty said. “We had a really good start to the season but had a tough weekend last weekend. This (team) is very good and we have high expectations for ourselves and we just need to get rolling again.”
On Sunday, the Panthers took a break from conference play to face Oregon’s Pacific University at Hart Park in a high-scoring game that ended 13-9 in favor of the Panthers.
“Our main focus is to play our game,” Laverty said. “We got away from that a little bit, trying to do a little bit too much. Our focus is playing our game – throwing strikes, making defensive plays, swinging the bat really well and having good offensive approaches. That’s going to be key as we continue to move toward the conference playoffs.”
The Panthers travel to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to start their series April 14 at 3 p.m. After that, the Panthers have two more series left in the regular season, against fourth-place University of La Verne and then first-place Occidental College to close out the season.