Photos by: Steven Castro
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Baseball team nearly pulled off a much needed sweep Saturday over the Leopards of the University of La Verne winning 2-0 in game one before falling late 4-3 in game two.
Whittier gets back over .500 with the split improving to 19-18, 9-12 SCIAC. They still sit 6th in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Standings. Prior to the games Head Coach Mike Rizzo recognized his 11 seniors, which included Nick Krska (Happy Valley, OR), Jack Silva (Katy, TX), Brandon Mulrooney (Placentia, Calif.), Daniel Tuerffs (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Justin Kottinger (Stockton, Calif.), John Vuz (Blairstown, NJ), Mason Blansett (Lodi, Calif.), Tim Turpen (Chino Hills, Calif.), Alex Baez (Chino Hills, Calif.), James Beaudin (Seattle, WA), and Grant Grainger (Long Beach, Calif.).
Game 1 (W, 2-0)
The first game of the doubleheader included two complete games led by the Poets' Turpen who earned his third win going 9.0 innings strong not giving up a run and just six hits.
Whittier got the eventual game-winning runs in the 7th. Blansett got things started with a solo shot to left, his first of the season. Dane Goodman (Ross, Calif.) followed with a double down the left field line before coming in to score after a Jarryd Samsing (Buckeye, AZ) double down the right field line.
The Purple & Gold collected seven hits for the game with Goodman going 2-for-3 and Tuerffs, Blansett, Samsing, and Vuz posting 1-for-3 efforts.
Game 2 (L, 4-3)
The second game proved to be a pitchers dual as well with Whittier holding a slight 2-1 lead through six-innings. But over the final three frames ULV was able to fight their back to outscore WC 3-1 to pull off the one-run victory.
Freshman Austin Correia (San Diego, Calif.) got the start and threw 7.0 innings strong giving up just two runs on three hits, while striking out five. He left with the no decision giving way to freshman Alex Escobar (Brea, Calif.) and senior Kottinger who went the next 1.3 innings giving up two runs on four hits. Escobar though was charged with the loss as he moves to 1-1 on the season.
Whittier got on the scoreboard first in the 3rd Inning with a Mulrooney sacrifice fly. The Leos tied things up the very next inning but in the 5th the Poets were able to get back on top with Tuerffs singling to center scoring Mulrooney. This lead held until the 7th when Granado hit a solo shot to left for ULV. Then in the 8th, La Verne used a double from Aguilar to go on top for the first time before adding insurance in the top half of the 9th. Whittier got within one in their final at-bats with Tuerffs hitting a solo shot to left and then getting another base runner aboard due to a fielding error. But they couldn't bring the run around as a fly-out and a pop-out would end their comeback.
Tuerffs had a big game going 3-for-4 driving in two and scoring once. Alexander Jelloian (Chatsworth, Calif.) was 2-for-3 and Mulrooney was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in.
Whittier has one more three-game series remaining on the schedule. Next weekend they take on Cal Lutheran on May 3-4. They host the Kingsmen on Friday beginning at 3:00pm before traveling to Thousand Oaks, Calif. for a doubleheader on Saturday.