WALNUT, Calif. – On a night where the Cal Lutheran offense stranded 12 runners, the No. 7 ranked Kingsmen got seven strong innings from starting pitcher Jake Petersen and a two-inning save from Aaron Roth as they defeated La Verne 5-1 at Mazmanian Field Friday night for their 12th straight win. During the double-digit win-streak, CLU has outscored its opponents a remarkable 160-25.
It looked as though Cal Lutheran’s offense would continue its hot-streak, pushing across four runs in the top of the second. Nick DeLorezno reached after being hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a single by Kevin Leonard. Mike Vinyard followed with a sacrifice bunt, moving the runners into scoring position and the move paid off when DeLorenzo scored on an RBI groundout by Spencer Dubois. A batter later, Garrett Smith notched his 39th RBI of the season when he singled in Leonard. Later, Petersen kept the inning going with a triple into right-center, plating Smith and putting CLU up 3-0. Nicho DellaValle gave the Kingsmen their fourth run of the inning when he lifted an RBI single into centerfield, scoring Petersen and giving CLU a four run lead.
La Verne got its lone of the run game in the bottom of the second but Petersen (6-1) would settle in from there, striking out eight batters through five innings. The Leopards threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Jared Hovsepian and George Hanna both singled but Petersen got a ground out and strike out to end the inning.
After stranding a runner at third base in five different innings, CLU finally converted with a run of its own in the top of the eighth. John Leal led off with a walk, moved to second on sacrifice bunt and later came home on a wild pitch, giving CLU a 5-1 advantage.
Roth (4-1) came on in relief in the bottom of the eighth and retired the next six straight batters to earn his eighth save of the season and increase his school record scoreless innings streak to 37.1. The junior from Camarillo, Calif. hasn't allowed a run in nearly two months when Pomona-Pitzer scratched a run across him on February 23.
Petersen earned the win after pitching 7.0 innings while allowing just one earned run and striking out 10.
Trevor Koons and DeLorenzo led the way offensively for CLU, each gathering three hits. DeLorenzo’s double in the fifth inning gave him his team-leading 16th of the year. With Koons’ three singles, the senior shortstop is just six away from becoming the school’s all-time leader in hits.
Smith chipped in with a 2-for-4 performance including an RBI. He also increased his average to .392, a season-high.
DellaValle’s single in the second inning also pushed his hit-streak to 14 games.
Kevin Knight (5-3) suffered the loss for the Leopards, giving up 11 hits and five runs in seven innings of work.
Hovsepian led the La Verne offensive attack, going 4-for-5 with an RBI.
Cal Lutheran (26-6-1, 19-3 SCIAC), who has already locked up the No. 1 seed for the upcoming pool play series, will look to complete the sweep over the Leopards Saturday, April 20. Game one of the doubleheader is set to get underway at 11:00 a.m. at Ullman Stadium.