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Cal Lutheran Burned After Making a Run in the Sun, 6-1

Times Staff Writer

Once every season, Cal Lutheran baseball players get into their team vans and head out to Malibu for the afternoon.

Their objectives are to catch the Pepperdine Waves at low tide and to soak up a little of that Division I sun that shines on pint-sized National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools when they’re fortunate enough to squeeze into the big guys’ schedules.

Wednesday was the Kingsmen’s afternoon for sunbathing. Matters progressed nicely for a while, but as any lobster-colored vacationer on the nearby Malibu beaches would attest, the painful burn doesn’t really set in for a couple of hours.

Cal Lutheran trailed, 1-0, through five innings and, 2-0, after six before succumbing to Pepperdine, 6-1, in a nonconference game at Eddy D. Field Stadium.

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Oh, well. It’s cooler in the shade anyway.

Kingsmen Coach Al Schoenberger was anything but disappointed about his team’s showing, however.

“I thought we played about as well as we could play today,” he said. “They were just physically better than we were.

“We played a credible game. You always want to win, but I was still pleased with our performance. We didn’t come down here and embarrass ourselves, anyway.”

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Against the Waves, the Kingsmen seldom have.

Last season, they led Pepperdine, 4-2, in the ninth before losing, 5-4. In 1984, they lost, 4-3.

They even beat the Waves, 2-1, in 1980 behind the pitching of Kevin Gross, who now pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies.

It appears that no one has informed Cal Lutheran (15-8) that the team is not supposed to play up to the same level as Pepperdine (20-11-2), which spends the better part of every spring firmly planted in the national rankings.

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Waves Coach Dave Gorrie has a theory: Perhaps Cal Lutheran isn’t quite as tiny and harmless as some might think.

“I know I’ve never taken them lightly,” he said before the game. “I don’t think the players do, either. They always seem to give us a very tough game.”

He then sent his No. 2 starter to the mound, junior Tony Lewis, and posted his regular lineup.

Lewis was in command most of the way, allowing seven hits, all singles. He struck out nine, walked none and allowed only five fly-ball outs in the first eight innings.

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He tired in the ninth, giving up the Kingsmen’s only run, which was made possible when Lewis dropped an easy toss to first from first baseman Scott Shockey for an error.

All season, Schoenberger has likened his team’s offense to that of a Division I school. The difference, he has said, has come in the pitching department.

On Wednesday, he sent to the mound junior Chuck Vanole, who has less than a year’s experience as a pitcher. He was touched for a run in the first when Rick Hirtensteiner doubled to left-center and scored on Steve Erickson’s single.

Vanole then settled down to work four scoreless innings, before giving up a run in the sixth and four in the seventh.

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Cal Lutheran 1

Pepperdine 6

CAL LUTHERAN--Vanole, Pastor (7) and Santos.

PEPPERDINE--Lewis and Erickson.

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WP--Lewis (5-2); LP--Vanole (2-3).


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