THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran Kingsmen sent their seven departing seniors off in style with a double header sweep, Saturday, against the Whittier Poets. The team came out with a seven-hit, five run first inning in game one to win it by final score of 5-3, and slammed the door on a 7-0 win in game two.
The double header sweep also marks the end of the regular season with Cal Lutheran heading for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament with an overall 26-14 record and 14-9 record in conference play.
Game One: CLU 5; WC 3
After struggling to get an offensive break yesterday to back senior Justin Fong's complete game, the lineup found their groove early in game one, batting through the lineup in the first and scoring five runs on seven hits.
Sophomore Tanner Wright, who finished 4-for-5 in the contest, led off the game with a single to short followed by a double to left center by junior Cortez Espinoza put two men in scoring position. Junior Ryan Probst then picked up the first RBI with a sharp hit to short and senior Kaden White followed suit with a single up the middle to make it 2-0.
And though sophomore Daniel Parr grounded into a double play, the rest of the lineup continued to pick him up. Junior Matt Sciumbato worked a two-out walk to put runners on the corners and next man up, senior Anthony Sidley, brought Probst home on a single through the right side.
Senior Weston Clark then got in on the fun with a single down the right field line to score both Sidley and Sciumbato. Tack on another single to right center by senior Trevor Egan and the Kingsmen had made their way through the lineup for a quick 5-0 lead.
Getting the nod for his final start on Sparky Anderson Field, senior Chris Kovach set the Poets down in order in the first on just seven pitches and went on pick up his fourth win on the year. Outside of a three-spot in the third on a bases-clearing double by Dane Goodman, the tall righty settled in for 3.2 more shutout frames, before exiting in the seventh. The senior walked away, allowing three runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings of work.
His bullpen hammered the final nails in the coffin from there, with juniors Troy Frazier and Christian Slattery combining for 2.1 perfect innings to close the 5-3 victory. The 1-2-3 retirement by Slattery in the ninth also makes him the SCIAC leader in saves this season with a total of nine.
Game Two: CLU 7, WC 0
The good times continued rolling into game two as the Kingsmen said goodbye to Ullman Stadium with a 7-0 victory. Putting up the first six shutout innings on the board, sophomore Scott Roberts allowed just four hits in his fourth win on the year.
With a scoreless frame each, sophomores Clay Rickerman, Zach Hardman and Mason Snodgrass then followed and kept the scoreboard clean to send Whittier home empty handed. Unfazed by a leadoff single, Rickerman retired the side with two strikeouts in the seventh, before handing the ball to Hardman in the eighth who struck out his first two batters on six straight strikes. And rounding out the relievers, Snodgrass induced a routine 6-4-3 double play to slam the door.
Offensively, Parr got the team going once again on a triple to left center in the second. Not to be outdone, Sidley followed with a triple of his own to right center to knock in the first run of the game. Clark then flied out to right for the sacrifice fly and 2-0 lead.
Moving into the fourth, Parks pushed the lead to three with an RBI before Probst broke the score open in the fifth on a two-RBI single to left. Up 5-0, Cal Lutheran added two more insurance runs in the next frame on an error by Whittier's third baseman with the bases loaded and a sacrifice fly from junior Ryne Yamashiro.
The double header victory sends Cal Lutheran's seven seniors - Chris Kovach, Nick Maldonado, Justin Fong, Anthony Sidley, Trevor Egan, Kaden White and Weston Clark – into playoffs on a high note. The Kingsmen now head to Orange, California, on Friday to take on the Chapman Panthers at 3 p.m. in round one of the SCIAC tournament.
Box Score: CLU 5, WC 3; CLU 7, WC 0
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director