On opening day for California Lutheran University baseball, the Kingsmen exploded offensively scoring a total of 21 runs in their two games. After scoring 12 runs in the final four innings of game one, CLU was victorious over Emory University, 13-2.
Following their 13-run performance in game one, the Kingsmen scored eight runs in game two. However, their defense faltered.
Although it committed four errors defensively, CLU had the game-tying run at the plate in the eighth inning but could not close the deal.
Ultimately, the Eagles of Emory prevailed with the final score of 11-8.
After each team scored a run in the first inning of the first game, Emory kept the Kingsmen from scoring for the next four innings. But CLU senior starting pitcher Jake Petersen also retired 10 of the next 12 Emory hitters.
“The first game we pitched really well and Jake Petersen had a phenomenal start for us and we played really good defense,” said Marty Slimak, CLU head coach.
The Kingsmen offense really began in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore third baseman Davey Casciola reached on an error and advanced to third on a groundball from freshman shortstop Austin Kay. Sophomore center fielder Justin Caña continued the momentum with a line drive up the middle, scoring Casciola. By the end of the inning, CLU scored six runs and the score was 7-1.
CLU scored two additional runs in the bottom of the sixth, one in the seventh and three more in the eighth, sealing the victory.
Petersen (1-0) pitched 7.0 innings, allowing only four hits and one run with eight strikeouts. He also contributed offensively, going 2-for-3. Senior pitcher Tyler Hebda came in to pitch the last two innings, allowing three hits and striking out two.
Emory’s Merolla (0-1) acquired the loss after 4.2 innings and only one earned run out of six scored.
“We came out with intensity and tenacity,” senior second baseman Nicho DellaValle said. “Our defense and pitching were solid and our hitting came with focus and persistence at the plate.”
Every Kingsmen starter had at least one hit while Caña lead the team offensively by going 3-4, scoring four runs and knocking in an RBI.
“Jake did a great job and our offense fueled off our defense,” said Scott Peters, junior pitcher for the Kingsmen.
CLU took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the second game, but that was short lived.
The Eagles led by the end of the top of the third inning. The bases were loaded and Peters attempted to pick off Brandon Hannon, but ricocheted the ball off of his helmet, scoring Jordan Selbach. Brett Lake then hit in two more runs, giving Emory the 3-2 lead.
“We just have to be more mentally tough,” DellaValle said.
CLU took back the lead the next inning when Petersen hit a double to right field, scoring two, and sophomore right fielder Ramsey Abushala hit in another run with a single to center field.
The Kingsmen then gave Emory four unearned runs due to three errors, giving the Eagles the lead 11-5.
“They got their lead off guy on a lot and when you get that lead off guy on a lot, that guy usually scores a lot,” Slimak said. “And they got that guy on pretty much the whole game and he scored pretty much the whole game and they came up with some big hits.”
CLU fought back in the bottom of the eighth and scored three runs, but could not finish strong enough to clinch the win.
“We know we can come up big when we need to and we proved that today despite the outcome of the second game,” DellaValle said. “We beat ourselves in that last game.”
Emory’s Hans Hansen (1-0) gained the win after 6.0 innings with only three runs allowed. Peters got the no-decision after 5.0 innings with six hits, three earned runs and two strikeouts.
“This was everyone’s first outing, and without blaming that, I think we showed that it was,” Peters said.
CLU (1-1) will start SCIAC play on Feb. 21 with a team that always is in the running for a conference title when it travels to Pomona-Pitzer at 2:30 p.m.
Published Feb. 12, 2014