California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Baseball challenges Whitworth Pirates

    Face First: Senior infielder Garrett Smith slides into home during the Kingsmen’s first match of the season against the Whitworth Pirates.
    Photo by Andrew Domanski- Staff Photographer

    The CLU Kingsmen officially began their season this past Friday when they took on the Whitworth Pirates. It was game one of a three-game series, and the first game of the season didn’t disappoint Kingsmen fans.

    Even the rain couldn’t stop California Lutheran University from securing their first win of the season against the Pirates.

    Junior pitcher Jake Peterson was the starting pitcher for the Kingsmen on opening day and had a solid outing. Peterson threw for seven innings, only allowing five hits while striking out two, with no earned runs.

    Peterson, a transfer from Cal State Northridge made his first career start as a Kingsmen pitcher. The bearded man showed poise and was consistent for the Kingsmen on the mound. They trailed going into the bottom of the eighth inning by a score of 3-1.

    The rain had been drizzling steadily throughout the course of the game, but the rain really started to pick up and fall during the bottom of the eighth inning.

    The inning started off on the right note when the Whitworth pitchers walked designated hitter Nick DeLorenzo. After walking him, the Whitworth coaching staff decided to make a pitching change in effort to disrupt the Kingsmen batters.

    Junior third baseman Nicho DellaValle was next to bat, and he singled, trading places with pinch runner Zach Cope who moved over to second. The Pirates’ defense was stingy as they collected the second out of the inning and with their backs against the wall. With the game on the line, the Kingsmen found new life.

    Kevin Leonard connected for a pinch-hit RBI single to left field, which brought in Cope. Next up was freshman pinch hitter Davey Casciola who singled, then stole second on a Pirates throwing error. DellaValle then rounded the bases to tie the game at three runs a piece.

    Outfielder Ronnie Burton continued his impressive day. The left fielder hit a single to right field, after working through a long nine-pitch at bat, ending the tie with two RBIs. Both Elon Goldman, who pinch ran for Leonard, and Casciola were able to score.  Next up to the plate was Garrett Smith who was walked, forcing the Pirates to make another pitching change. The inning ended the Pirates getting Jason Renner to pop up for the final out.

    As the temperature dropped, the Kingsmen bats started to heat up at the plate. They took it to the Whitworth pitchers and amassed four runs in this inning to take a 5-3 lead.

    Junior Aaron Roth took the mound in the ninth to close for the Kingsmen. Roth struck out the first batter he faced. He gave up a single to the next batter, then forced what appeared to be a game-ending double-play, but the runner at first was called safe to extend the game. On that play, the runner scored to cut the CLU lead to one.  Roth forced the next hitter to hit a fly ball to Goldman in center field to complete the victory for the Kingsmen.

    The following day, CLU lost the first game of a double header 13-8 and finished the second game in a 7-7 tie. The game was called after the ninth inning due to darkness.

    After the loss the day before, the Pirates came out focused and ready to play. The Pirates put the pressure on early by scoring quickly in the first inning.

    The Pirates added four runs in the fourth inning and took a 6-0 lead. The Kingsmen didn’t back down and responded with a four run inning of their own. With runners on first and second, Nicho DellaValle got things going when he hit a hard line-drive over the Pirate second baseman, which brought home Nick Boggan from second base. Nick DeLorenzo then continued his great day at the plate by hitting a two-run triple over the center-fielder’s head, which allowed DellaValle and Jake Petersen to score. As DeLorenzo was sliding into third, the Pirate third baseman couldn’t handle the throw in time and lost the ball, the error gave DeLorenzo the time he needed to score, cutting the Pirates’ lead to 6-4.

    Whitworth went on to score three runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and three more in the ninth increasing their lead 13-5 heading into the final at-bats for CLU.

    The Kingsmen wouldn’t go quietly and made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth after Davey Casciola doubled. Boggan then stepped to the plate and did what he does best by hitting a two-run home run deep to center field. Petersen followed that with a triple, but the Pirates’ pitcher got DeLorenzo to line-out during his second at bat to end the game.

    Petersen had a good day at the plate for the Kingsmen going 3-for-5. Boggan and DeLorenzo both had two RBIs, while DellaValle knocked in one.

    This was the first game of a double header. The Kingsmen didn’t come out with the same intensity and passion as they did on Friday. During the intermission, outfielder Ronnie Burton said the team lacked intensity.

    “Yesterday we came out with a lot more intensity than we did today during the first game. We kind of came out flat and we let it get away from us. They came out and hit and were ready to bang, so what we need to do for this third game is basically come out with more intensity; you know, attack first and put some runs on the board,” said Burton.

    Designated hitter DeLorenzo was confident in his team heading into the second game of the series.

    “I think we kind of have a chip on our shoulders going into this game. You know, we kind of came back at the end. We feel good going into this game regardless of what happened,” said DeLorenzo.  “We know our strengths and we learned from our weaknesses from last game, and I feel like we’re going to put together a really good game.“

    The second game of the double header didn’t start out any better as the Kingsmen allowed four hits in the top of the first inning. Luckily, starting pitcher Scott Peters and Cal Lutheran only gave up one run and later tied it the bottom half of the inning when Petersen came home on a fielder’s choice. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, DeLorenzo stepped to the plate and hit the first pitch he saw, sending it over the right field wall for a solo home run, pulling CLU even at 2-2.

    The Pirates didn’t come all the way to California just to sight-see. They responded in the top of the fifth inning by hitting a three-run homerun, giving Whitworth back the lead at 5-2.

    Cal Lutheran showed intensity and started a comeback in the bottom of the fifth. Casciola led off the inning with a single to right field and was later brought home on a double from Trevor Koons that one-hopped the wall. Koons then came home on a single from Boggan, pulling CLU to within one at 5-4. A couple of batters later, DeLorenzo came in clutch, tying the game at five when he hit a double off the right field fence, bringing Boggan home.

    The Pirates responded by retaking the lead in the top of the sixth after a bunt single by Muelheims that allowed another runner to score.  Junior pitcher Aaron Roth was then brought in to close out the game and he responded by getting the next batter to ground into an inning-ending 6-3 double play.

    In the bottom of the eighth, the Kingsmen got a lead-off single from DeLorenzo and Kevin Leonard continued his impressive hitting from the plate with a double down the right field line. Burton brought home pinch runner Craig Jacobson on a groundout to the second basemen, bringing CLU to within one. A few pitches later, the Kingsmen struck gold and scored on a wild pitch, tying the game up at seven.

    Both teams were unable to score a run in the final inning, and the umpires called the game, ending in a 7-7 tie due to darkness.

    The Kingsmen ended their weekend by winning one game, losing one game and tying the final game. Coach Marty Slimak felt his team needed to be more consistent in crucial moments in the game in order to be successful.

    “I thought we played good in spots, but I think we can be a lot better. I don’t think we put a complete game together this whole weekend. I thought we were very good in spots and very bad in spots, so I think if we clean that up and be a little bit more consistent then I think we can be pretty good,” said Slimak.

    The Kingsmen’s next game is Feb. 15 at home against George Fox University at 2:30 p.m.

    Anthony Goodman Jr.
    Staff Writer
    Published Feb. 13, 2013

    Leave a Comment

    Comments (0)

    All The Echo Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *