Survive and Advance; Rivas, SCIAC Tournament Champions Eliminate Pacific, Northwest Conference Champions

Photo by Mariah Zermeno
Photo by Mariah Zermeno

ORANGE, Calif. — It is a survive and advance Saturday for the California Lutheran University baseball team and they did just that as Alexander Rivas pitched the Kingsmen to a 9-1 victory over the Pacific (Ore.) Boxers on Saturday morning. 

The Kingsmen (30-15) stayed alive in their NCAA Championship West Regional, as the SCIAC Tournament Champions shut down the Northwest Conference Tournament Champions. With the win, Cal Lutheran advances to another elimination game, against the loser of Chapman and Pomona-Pitzer at 6 p.m. 

Rivas shined for the Kingsmen delivering a clutch performance when they needed it the most. Rivas struck out nine Boxers, one looking, over 6.2 innings. He allowed just one earned run, as he pitched around eight hits, coming up bigger and bigger every inning. 

Will Watson came on in relief, as the duo cruised through the Boxer lineup. Watson pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing just one hit, and struck out one batter. 

The Cal Luthern bats were active early and often. Zach Bullard, Max Heverly and Watson each delivered two RBI. Austin Carrillo, Brendan Durfee and Jalen Parks each added one. 

Kyle Reuser and Bullard both had an extra-base hit, as Kyle Reuser hit a triple and Bullard added a double. Bullard, Carrillo, Heverly and Reuser all scored two runs while Sean Blandino added one. 

Cal Lutheran was active early as Reuser led off the game with a triple. He scored immediately as Carrillo grounded out to short. 

Pacific had their chances in the bottom of the second and had runners at second and third with no outs. Rivas shut them down as the next batter hitters fouled out, grounded out and struck out swinging.

The Kingsmen broke through again, scoring three runs in the third. Back-to-back hits and a walk had the bases loaded with no outs. Durfee, Parks and Watson each recorded a RBI in back-to-back-to-back at-bats. Parks singled through the right side and Durfee and Watson walked. 

Rivas continued to mow down the Boxer hitters. He allowed just one hit in the third, fifth and sixth innings, and sat down Pacific in order in the fourth. Through six innings, Rivas made the Boxers go 0-6 with runners in scoring position. 

Cal Lutheran broke the game open in the seventh scoring four runs. Heverly got the action started with a RBI single. Bullard kept the runs coming with a 2-RBI double and Watson added a sacrifice fly as the Kingsmen were thinking about a second game today. 

After 6.2 innings, and the first Pacific run having been scored, Watson moved from shortstop to pitcher to relieve Rivas. With runners on first and second, Watson got the Boxers to groundout to end the inning. It was the sixth and seventh runners the Boxers stranded. 

The Kingsmen got the run back in the top of the eighth. Carrillo reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Reuser, and Cal Lutheran could taste another game. 

Watson pitched the rest of the game as the Kingsmen rolled the Boxers to advance to stay alive in the NCAA tournament. 

Box Score: CLU 9, PU 1
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director