FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
ABILENE, Texas – The No. 1 ranked Chapman Panthers used a 3-run first inning and never looked back on the way to a narrow 4-3 win over La Verne in the first game of the 2008 NCAA West Region Baseball Championships at Walt Driggers Field. Patrick O’Hail hit a 2-run single in the first and Wayde Kitchens & Kurt Yacko combined for the win and save respectively.
Kitchens had only allowed two earned runs all season entering into the tournament. However, the Leopards put up three runs off the starter but couldn’t finish the rally. Kitchens moved to 8-0 on the year, he lasted 6.1 innings, scattered eight hits, walked two and struck out seven. He allowed three earned runs before Yacko closed the door with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Yacko was 3 for 4 from the plate with an RBI and picked up his 13th save of the season. The all-American came into pitch in the seventh with one out and the bases loaded. Kitchens was responsible for a Scott Marcus sacrifice fly off Yacko that scored Mark Larini. However, after that, the Leopards couldn’t move another runner across.
La Verne’s Tim Jolly pitched a complete game in the loss. Other than the first inning when he allowed three-straight hits to begin the game to allow the first run and O’Hail’s 2-run single later in the inning, the sophomore did his part to keep the high-powered Panthers at bay.
The only other offensive damage Chapman did came in the fourth inning when after a leadoff walk, Matt Pearson scored on a Yacko triple. Other than that, Jolly allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out three in the losing effort.
La Verne, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, will play Thursday at noon against the loser of game two between George Fox and Trinity in an elimination game. The Leopards moved to 25-15-1 on the season while Chapman improved to 36-3.
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