LA VERNE/REDLANDS, Calif. - Playing two games about 40 miles apart, the Puget Sound Loggers fell to La Verne in the morning, 20-10, before falling to Redlands in the afternoon, 18-14, on Friday at the California Classic.
The Loggers opened up their road trip with the offense clicking as Matt Cox (Salem, Ore./South Salem) led off the scoring with an RBI double to left field that scored Doug Cox (Kailua, Hawaii/Kalaheo) from second and then Chaz Kramer (Boulder, Colo./Silver Creek) homered to give the Loggers a 3-0 lead.
The Leopards answered back in a big way with four runs in the bottom of the first but the Loggers answered back in their next at-bat as Mark Rockey (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Univ. of New Mexico) singled to center field to score Dakota Resnik (Bellevue, Wash./Newport). ULV again took the lead with two runs in the second and added another in the third to push their lead to 7-4.
In the top of the fourth, Rockey earned a bases-loaded walk to score Andrew Grady (Cave Creek, Ariz./Phoenix Country Day) and then Matt Cox was hit by a pitch to force in Resnik as the Loggers got back within a run, 7-6. Just as quickly as the Loggers closed the gap, the Leopards expanded it again, scoring three runs on two hits in the fourth to pull back ahead by four. Both teams added a run in the fifth as La Verne held an 11-7 lead heading into the sixth.
Rockey opened up the sixth inning with a solo home run and then Nick Cherniske (Angel Fire, N.M./College of Santa Fe) picked up an RBI, driving in Matt Cox. Grady got the Loggers back within one run on a fielder choice that scored Kramer but the Leopards would explode for five runs in the bottom of the sixth and four more in the bottom of the seventh to invoke the 10-run rule as the Loggers headed east to take on Redlands.
Taylor Volz (Portland, Ore./Grant) took the loss for the Loggers, allowing six runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in one and one-third innings pitched. Rockey finished the game with three RBIs and one run scored while Kramer and Matt Cox each scored twice and had two RBIs.
In the second game, the Loggers opened up the scoring yet again as Rockey hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the first to give the Loggers the 1-0 lead. Redlands took the lead over in the top of the third with three runs on four hits and then two more runs in the fourth put the Bulldogs up, 5-1.
The Loggers tied it up in the bottom of the fourth as Resnik singled to left to score Will Mentor (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep) and then Doug Cox followed that up with a three-run home run that tied the game at 5. The Bulldogs scored a lone run in the fifth to pull back ahead by one and then six runs in the sixth made it look like Redlands would run away with the win.
Puget Sound had something to say about that in the bottom of the sixth as the maroon and white exploded for seven runs on six hits, highlighted by a grand slam by Mentor, as the teams headed into the seventh inning tied at 12.
With the game tied, Redlands blew the game open in the seventh, scoring five runs off freshman Matt Robinson (Lafayette, Calif./Campolindo). A home run by Doug Cox pulled the Loggers back within four but both squads scored once more in the ninth as the Bulldogs escaped with the 18-14 win. Robinson took the loss for the Loggers, falling to 4-1 on the year. Doug Cox finished the game with two runs scored and five RBIs to pace the Logger offense.
The Loggers will look to get back in the win column on Saturday when they travel to Thousand Oaks, Calif. to take on Cal Lutheran, beginning at 3:00 p.m.