The third seeded Chapman baseball team came up short on a rainy May 6 afternoon in the opening game of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament against second seed California Lutheran University.
The game was close throughout, but Cal Lutheran (29-11, 22-6) would eventually pull away with a 6-5 win. The loss placed Chapman (26-15, 20-8) into the losers’ bracket for its next game on May 7 due to the double elimination format of the tournament.
“Cal Lutheran is a very good team and we need to play a solid all-around game, especially defensively and on the mound,” said Head Coach Scott Laverty prior to the game. “We need to continue to capitalize on the offensive opportunities we have created for ourselves over the last few weeks as we have been swinging the bat very well.”
For the first time in three games, the Panthers’ bats fell stagnant as they only recorded six hits, but gave up 16.
The Panthers were the first to bring a run home, with senior outfielder Greg Dillon scoring on an RBI single from freshman outfielder Trevor Willits in the top of the first inning. Cal Lutheran quickly responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning and one more in the second for a 3-1 lead heading into the fourth.
Chapman rallied back in the fourth with three runs on two hits to reclaim the lead. The Panthers would add another run in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 5-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Unfortunately for the Panthers, two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and one in the eighth would eventually be enough for Cal Lutheran to seal a 6-5 win.
Dillon led the way for the Panthers with two hits to go along with two runs and freshman infielder Andrew Mendonca contributed a pair of RBIs. Sophomore pitcher Kynan Barton recorded his first loss of the season after pitching the final two innings of the game.
The Panthers remain in contention as they face first seed Occidental College May 7, after Occidental’s loss to the University of Redlands earlier in the day May 7. Chapman will need to win the elimination game May 7 as well as another elimination game May 8 to advance to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship May 8.