Panthers Fall to Chapman in Spring Trip Opener

Justin Han went 2-4 at the plate with an RBI on Saturday.
Justin Han went 2-4 at the plate with an RBI on Saturday.

The Middlebury baseball team dropped a 5-3 decision to Chapman on Saturday during the opening contest of its spring break trip to Southern California. The Panthers (1-6) return to action on Sunday when they play at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and Pomona-Pitzer at 6:00 p.m.

The hosts got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning with a pair of tallies. Conner Larkin doubled to right-center field, plating Jared Love who drew a leadoff walk. Jarod Penniman made the score 2-0 with an RBI groundout to second, scoring Andrew Mendonca who was hit by a pitch.

Chapman (16-7) tacked on three runs in the home half of the third. Aaron Wong reached on an error, while Love followed with a double down the left-field line. Gavin Blodgett blasted a three-run home run, driving in both Wong and Love for a 5-0 lead.

Middlebury cut the deficit to 5-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Hayden Smith walked, stole second and scored on a single up the middle from Justin Han. Kevin Woodring brought home Han with a two-base hit into the left-center field gap. The visitors added a run in the sixth. Sam Graf doubled to left field, scampered to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout from Alan Guild.

Middlebury was unable to muster any rallies in the final three innings, as Chapman held on for the 5-3 victory.

Colby Morris (1-2) suffered the complete-game loss for the visitors, allowing five runs (two earned) on just four hits over eight innings. He struck out five and walked four in his eighth career complete game. Han went 2-4 at the plate with an RBI, while Woodring (1-3, BB) and Graf (1-4) both had doubles. Smith and Brooks Carroll had the other two base hits for the Panthers.

Joey Harmon (4-0) picked up the win for Chapman, surrendering two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks in five innings of work. Jonathan Hernandez gave up a run on two hits in three innings, while Cody Turner retired the side in order in the ninth for his second save. Four different batters for Chapman had hits, including the three-run homer by Blodgett.