With the season well underway and the last stretch of conference games coming up, the Chapman baseball team won its seventh-straight game (sixth in conference play) as it swept the University of Redlands in a three-game series April 1-2.
The Panthers (17-10, 11-4) began the weekend with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Bulldogs (17-11, 10-8) April 1.
“It feels nice,” said sophomore second baseman Gavin Blodgett. “We did our job and we were able to come back in game three and win that game which was huge. All three games were good all around team wins.”
The game was held fairly close, with the Bulldogs leading until the fifth inning. In the fifth inning, the Panthers turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead with the help of a three-run home run by sophomore first baseman Jared Love.
The home run set the Panthers apart from the visitors, as they only expanded their lead from that point on.
Following Friday’s game, Chapman traveled to the University of Redlands for a doubleheader April 2.
In the first game, the Panthers went down early but came back in the third inning to take a 4-1 lead, the start of three-straight four-run innings by each team. In the fourth inning, the Bulldogs took a 5-4 lead, but the Panthers responded in the sixth inning with four runs of their own with two-run singles from freshman infielders Konnor Zickefoose and Andrew Mendonca, never giving up the lead again.
The Panthers also were much more efficient with their at-bats, only striking out twice and leaving five runners on base, while the Bulldogs struck out six times and left 11 runners on base.
The third and final game of the weekend was much closer than the previous two. The Panthers took an early 3-0 lead courtesy of a single from freshman outfielder Trevor Willits, and a two-run home run from Zickefoose. However, Redlands tied it 3-3 in the third inning after a sacrifice fly and two mistakes – a walked-in run and a throwing error.
By the end of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs were up 5-3 after another run was walked in, and an additional run scored from a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. The Panthers then came back and tied the game again 5-5 in the seventh inning. It remained tied heading into the ninth inning until senior outfielder Greg Dillon drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single.
While Chapman out-hit Redlands eight to four, it allowed three unearned runs from six walks and three errors.
These three wins moved Chapman into third place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and push Redlands into fifth place.
“We’re on a nice streak right now of games we have played well and it’s resulted in a good win streak. The main focus is winning at all costs,” Blodgett said.
With these games behind them, the Panthers continue to look for more conference wins as they play Whittier College April 8.