The Chapman baseball team secured a third straight win, and second in the conference round robin, April 30 in an offensively dominant 23-11 win in seven innings at Whittier College. The Panthers’ offense managed to put a run in every inning, as the offense compensated for a multitude of defensive errors.
“We need to play better defensively. Basically we had eight errors, and we cannot do that, especially not in playoff games,” said Head Coach Scott Laverty. “I do think it was a bit of an anomaly. We’ve been playing good defense for most of the season, and we just made too many mistakes today to give them runs.”
Chapman (24-14, 18-8) officially committed seven errors on the game, but the mistakes of the defense were greatly overshadowed by the Panthers’ nonstop offensive attack on Whittier’s (14-23, 11-15) pitching. The Panthers began the game with a three-run first inning, starting with a leadoff hit from senior right fielder Greg Dillon. Dillon went on to score the first of his four runs later in the inning, and eventually racked up four hits, including a third-inning home run.
Dillon was one of eight Panthers’ hitters who had at least two RBIs in the game. Chapman proceeded to put up at least two runs in every inning besides the fifth, culminating with a grand-slam, pinch-hit home run from freshman outfielder Anthony Deniro, which put the Panthers up 22-11 and gave them a 10-run rule advantage (through at least seven innings) over Whittier.
“We’ve had a good approach and I think we’re pretty talented,” Laverty said. “Offensively, one through nine. And today was just a real good example of guys having good at-bats, and putting at-bats together, when you score runs every inning, you’re working to get on base, and going from there.”
After Deniro’s grand-slam, sophomore first baseman Jared Love drove in another run, then freshman pitcher Christian Cosby proceeded to shut out Whittier in the bottom half of the seventh, giving Chapman the early, run-rule victory. Love was one of four Panthers with at least four hits in the game – Dillon, sophomore second baseman Gavin Blodgett and senior catcher David Basen.
With the win, Chapman remains in third place in the conference and still in competition for a second place finish. Laverty said the team has high expectations for itself going into the playoffs.
“We’ve been playing well here overall and winning games at least, and we feel real good about moving into the conference tournament,” he said. “We think that’s something we can win and move to a regional and go from there.”
Chapman will play next April 31 at home, in doubleheader against fourth place University of Redlands (24-11, 16-8) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (10-25, 8-18).