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California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Kingsmen baseball dominates Puget Sound on opening day

The+Kingsmen+win+their+opening+day+game+against+the+Puget+Sound+Loggers+by+a+score+of+7-1.
Eric Klang
The Kingsmen win their opening day game against the Puget Sound Loggers by a score of 7-1.

The California Lutheran University Kingsmen baseball team started off the 2024 season on Friday afternoon with a win over the University of Puget Sound Loggers with a final score of 7-1.

“It feels amazing, we’ve been working hard with these guys all of the fall, and coming into this game, so it’s been a lot of work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears so far but we’re just starting off the season 1-0, we wanna go 1-0 every time,” sixth-year outfielder Gordon Richardson said.

Junior pitcher Luke Wechsler started on the mound for the Kingsmen and was the winning pitcher; he pitched five innings earning six strikeouts and allowing just 1 run, 2 hits and 3 walks.

“I mean obviously you wanna be the best pitcher in the SCIAC, but I just wanna pitch well for these guys and give us a lot of wins, that’s all I really shoot for…give us a chance to win games and go for that SCIAC championship again,” Wechsler said.

The Kingsmen started off strong in the first inning when Junior infielders Josh Quinn and Blake Wink led off with back-to-back singles; Quinn scored on junior outfielder Lucas Danielewicz’s RBI single, and Wink scored on a sacrifice fly by junior first base Sebastian Smith.

The Kingsmen added another run in both the second and third innings with first-year infielder Kai Caranto scoring on a passed ball in the second inning and Junior Alec Garcia hitting a triple and then scoring off of another RBI single by Danielewicz in the third inning. 

Puget Sound got their first and only run of the day in the third inning with sophomore Kellen Krebs hitting a double and then scoring on a sac fly by junior Drew Kamihara to make the score 4-1 by the start of the 4th inning. 

Both teams played good defense as neither team scored a run for four consecutive innings. In the sixth inning, Wechsler was subbed out by sophomore pitcher Milan Bugarin who pitched two shutout innings.

The Kingsmen took off with 3 runs in the eighth inning thanks to two errors committed by the Loggers and an RBI single by Smith. The Kingsmen kept strong defense and continued to shut out the Loggers with junior pitcher Joshua Kim finishing the Kingsmen’s defensive work with two shutout innings.

The Kingsmen come into this season as the defending back-to-back Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) champions and are coming into this season with a target on their back. That is not stopping them from hoping for a third SCIAC championship title in a row, said Richardson.

“We’re trying to three-peat so we just gotta go into it with a little bit of an underdog mentality, but still know that we’re the best team out there,” Richardson said.

The Kingsmen came into this season having lost many key players who were seniors last year, but according to Head Coach Erik Scherer, they have also gained a lot of new talent.

“We have a lot of new guys, this was their first game at Cal Lutheran so as much as we appreciate the things we’ve done in the past, we really just have to look forward to this season and trying to do the best that we can,” Scherer said. “We can’t be worried about what teams before us have done.” 

Scherer said that the SCIAC is a very challenging conference and that each game will be a battle. He also said the Kingsmen will need to work hard to earn wins this year, especially with a target on their back. 

“We also know that there’s no easy wins at our level, and we’ve got to continue to work and get that much better each day,” Scherer said.

The Kingsmen finished the series against Puget Sound with a 9-2 win on Sunday, Feb. 18 at noon. The Kingsmen will face the Redlands Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m., at home, in the team’s first regular SCIAC game of the season.

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