LA VERNE, Calif. - The Diamond Gents jumped out to 3-0 and 5-4 leads, but the Leopards answered every score and took advantage of costly errors as #8 Centenary (7-4) fell to La Verne (8-5) 9-7 in La Verne, California, Friday afternoon, March 9.
Centenary used its doubles swing early to score the first three runs of the game in the top of the second. Junior Cameron Guin doubled to left field to leadoff the frame and scored when senior Cole Lavergne doubled to right field. Freshman Preston Ludwick hit an RBI two-bagger to right field and scored on classmate Peyton Cormane's double to left field. However, an error led to four unearned runs by La Verne in the bottom of the second.
The Gents briefly retook the lead in the top of the third with a pair of runs. Senior Chris Zapata and sophomore Cody Crowder led off the inning with singles. They both scored on freshman Chris Haggard's triple. Again, the Leopards retook the lead in the bottom of the frame with a pair of runs.
Haggard in the fifth and Zapata in the sixth briefly tied the game with two-out, RBI singles, but La Verne answered both times in the bottom of the frame.
Zapata led Centenary from the plate with a 3-for-5 effort and a run scored. Haggard went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Senior Kaleb Kirk (3-1) took his first loss of the season, allowing 10 hits and nine runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings of work. Freshman Cole Godkin threw a scoreless final 2.2 innings, allowing just a hit.
An error to begin the third allowed a quartet of runs to score for the Leopards. Two hit batters loaded the bases with one out, and an RBI groundout put La Verne on the board. Two-out doubles by Jakob Thomas and Nicholas Michaels scored a trio of runs to give the home team the lead.
With the game tied at seven in the bottom of the sixth, two costly areas scored La Verne's winning runs. A leadoff error and a single put two on, and a groundout moved the go-ahead runs into scoring position. Brandon Vogel's single scored the eighth run, and a throwing error allowed another runner to cross home plate.
Michaels led La Verne with a 3-for-5 afternoon with a run scored and an RBI. AJ Jimenez (2-0) picked up the win in relief, throwing 1.1 innings and allowing an unearned run and two hits. Christopher Peres allowed a leadoff walk in the ninth, but retired the next three batters for his first save of the season.
Centenary continues its road trip with a doubleheader at Redlands Saturday, March 10, beginning at 1 p.m. (11 a.m. PST).