Kingsmen Edge Tigers In Three Game Series

Senior Alec Iniguez went 4-5 with two RBI in game three against Occidental. He has been an anchor in the Kingsmen outfield for the duration of the season. Photo by Arianna Macaluso
Senior Alec Iniguez went 4-5 with two RBI in game three against Occidental. He has been an anchor in the Kingsmen outfield for the duration of the season.
Photo by Arianna Macaluso- Photojournalist

A day after dropping the series opener to Occidental College at home, the California Lutheran University baseball team bounced back with a pair of road wins during a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 24 to take the series from the Tigers.

Cal Lutheran lost 7-3 in Friday’s game and quickly fell behind 3-0 in the first inning of Saturday’s first game. But the Kingsmen responded by holding the Tigers scoreless over the next seventeen innings of both games to capture a 12-3 victory and a 5-0 shutout win in parts one and two of the doubleheader, respectively.

“Coming off a tough loss on Friday, we had a team heart-to-heart after the game and really came together,” said sophomore pitcher Scott Roberts, who tossed 1.1 innings in relief duty on Friday. “We were more focused and ready to play in the next two games, and that’s how we came away with two wins on Saturday to clinch the series.”

Senior pitcher Nate Wehner got the nod on the mound for the violet and gold on Friday. The senior struck out nine batters in 7.2 innings pitched. His eight hits and four earned runs were not enough to top Occidental pitcher Josh Cohen, who threw a complete-game on Friday, striking out eight batters and surrendering six hits on just one earned run in a 7-3 victory.

“[Cohen] had some good stuff going for him,” said senior outfielder Alec Iniguez, who had Cal Lutheran’s only extra-base hit on Friday with a stand-up double in the bottom of the first inning. 

“We got to him in the first inning before he could settle in, and then after that inning he was throwing good pitches that disrupted our offense,” Iniguez said.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, Occidental responded in the top of the third thanks to some clutch hitting from Reid Gibbs. With one out and runners on first and second, the junior shortstop smacked a two-RBI double down the left field line to even the score at 2-2.

In the top of the sixth, Gibbs followed up with a lead-off double that sparked a two-run rally for the Tigers. He finished 4-for-5 on Friday with three doubles and two runs batted in.

Cal Lutheran made it a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh when sophomore outfielder Matt Sciumbato drove in junior designated hitter Cheynne Giles on a pinch-hit single to right field. Cal Lutheran could not regain the lead as Occidental tacked on two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth against junior reliever Justin Fong and Roberts to secure a 7-3 victory in game number one.

The Kingsmen stumbled out of the gates Saturday morning, as senior starting pitcher Derek Galvin gave up three runs on three hits and an error in the bottom of the first inning. The senior from Thousand Oaks got some help from his offense in the next frame, as Sciumbato scored from third base on a ground ball to the right side and junior third baseman Anthony Sidley scored on an Ethan Go sacrifice fly to centerfield that narrowed Occidental’s lead to 3-2.

From that point on, Cal Lutheran was lights out on the mound. Galvin regained his composure and did not allow another run. Jeff Rebello took over in the fifth inning, striking out four batters in three hitless innings. The senior would go on to earn the win after Cal Lutheran tacked on ten more runs in the final three innings.

Sidley went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored in part one of the doubleheader. Giles also starred at the plate with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Sophomore pitcher Troy Frazier got the start in part two of the doubleheader. The sophomore pitcher from Grace Brethren High School took care of business on the mound, improving his record to 2-0 after allowing just two hits and striking out six batters in six scoreless innings.

Sciumbato helped the Kingsmen jump out in front of the Tigers in part two of the doubleheader with an RBI-double in the top of the first inning. The sophomore from Simi Valley went 2-for-5, finishing the series having recorded at least one hit and one RBI in each of the three games.

The Kingsmen increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning with sophomore infielder Ryne Yamashiro’s RBI single. Iniguez, who reached base safely in all three games against the Tigers, continued his brilliance at the plate with a sixth inning single that scored freshman second baseman Tanner Wright and junior shortstop Trevor Egan to give the visiting Kingsmen a 5-0 lead.

Fong replaced Frazier in the seventh inning, striking out three batters in two innings of relief duty. Junior pitcher Christian Slattery finished off the game in the bottom of the ninth.

With the two wins, the defending NCAA Division III national champions sit at 8-6 overall and 3-3 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. They will travel to the University of Redlands for another conference matchup Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Jake Gould