LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran offense came into the Occidental series averaging over eight runs per game but it was the Kingsmen pitching staff that stole the show Saturday, earning the first sweep of the season and pushing CLU to the top of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings. In game one, Tyler Hebda pitched 8.2 innings while allowing just a single earned run as Cal Lutheran won 10-3. In game two, Scott Peters and Aaron Roth combined for a seven-hit shutout as CLU swept the three-game series with the Tigers, 6-0.
After playing a closely contested game one, it looked as though game two would pan out in similar fashion. Cal Lutheran took an early lead as Ronnie Burton reached after being hit by a pitch, stole second and then advanced to third on a throwing error. Burton was then brought in by a sacrifice fly from Nicho DellaValle, putting CLU up 1-0.
Occidental tied the game in the bottom of the first when Jonathon Brooks singled to lead off the inning and was later brought home by an RBI-single from Victor Munoz.
Cal Lutheran would waste little time in reclaiming the lead when Burton singled in Kevin Leonard in the bottom of the second inning.
The Kingmsen pushed across a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and broke the game open with four runs in the top of the seventh capped by Nick DeLorenzo’s two-run double that put CLU up 9-1.
Garrett Smith notched his first homerun of the season in the top of the eighth when the senior blasted a shot over the right field fence.
After allowing a run in the first inning, Hebda (3-1) got stronger as the game wore on, scattering two hits over the next seven innings. The junior from Playa Del Rey, Calif. at one point retired 14 straight batters before giving way to Roth for the final out of the game.
Hebda earned his third win of the season after pitching 8.2 innings and allowing one earned run on 10 hits while striking out two.
CLU got an RBI from eight different players in game one while Burton, Trevor Koons, Leonard and Spencer DuBois all had two hits for the Kingsmen.
Scott Hong led Oxy at the plate going 2-for-5 with an RBI and stolen base.
Mitch Margolis (2-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Cal Lutheran was the beneficiary of six Tiger errors in game two, scoring three unearned runs in the first inning. The three runs would be all CLU needed as Peters pitched 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just five hits while striking out four.
The defensive woes for the Tigers started early as Burton lead off with a single to and then advanced to second after a failed pick-off attempt throw got away from the first basemen. DellaValle grounded out to second moving Burton to third base and the CLU lead-off man scored when the Oxy first baseman couldn't come up with the ball following a Koons grounder. Nick Boggan continued the inning with a single, putting runners at first and second. Jake Petersen moved the runners over a base after grounding out the pitcher and Koons later scored on an error by the Oxy second basemen. Boggan capped the scoring when he came home on after another error by the Oxy second baseman, putting CLU up 3-0.
Peters (2-0) allowed a lead-off single to Hong to start the game but then settled in retiring the next three batters. In the bottom of the second, Peters allowed back-to-back singles but then got out of trouble by forcing Chris Harms to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The sophomore from Honolulu, Hawaii was dominant over the next three innings retiring all nine batters in order.
The Kingsmen offense tacked on two insurance runs on in the top of the sixth inning when Petersen doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning and was then promptly brought home on the very next pitch when DeLorenzo sent a ball over the right field fence for a two-run homerun, giving CLU a five-run cushion.
Peters gave way to Roth in the bottom of the seventh and the junior from Camarillo, Calif. was stellar over the final three innings while extending his consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak to 18. Roth struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to secure CLU’s first sweep of the season while also vaulting them to atop the SCIAC standings.
Burton, DeLorenzo, Koons, and Vinyard all had two hits while DeLorenzo and Vinyard each drove in two runs.
C.J. Maruyama suffered the loss after going 6.0 innings and allowing five runs, though only two were earned on seven hits.
Hong and Chris Strain led Oxy with two hits apiece.
Cal Lutheran (13-5-1, 9-3 SCIAC) now travels to Tucson, Ariz. to participate in the Tucson Invitational Tournament. The Kingsmen open with Wisconsin-Superior on Saturday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m.