ATHERTON, Calif. - Adam Koontz and his Menlo College teammates gave No. 2 Chapman a rude welcome on Friday afternoon, shutting down the Panthers offense to win a pitching duel 2-0 in the opener of a four-game series at Cartan Field.
The Oaks scored twice off of Chapman's Jordan Sigman in the seventh inning and rode Koontz' coattails to victory. Koontz pitched a complete game, allowing three hits - all doubles - while striking out seven and walking four. Sigman pitched all eight inning for the Panthers, surrendering two earned runs on nine hits over eight innings.
Each pitcher managed to navigate through jams to keep the game scoreless heading into the home half of the seventh inning. Koontz allowed a leadoff double to Adam Kordich in the top of the inning, but got of a sticky situation after having the runner at third base with nobody out.
Brad Binder started the Oaks rally by drawing a walk. Will Ireton put down a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt to get Binder into scoring position and senior catcher Ty Finley made certain that Binder would have no trouble scoring from there when he smacked an RBI triple for a 1-0 lead.
Two were down after a Jonathan Ochoa ground out couldn't advance Finley, but leadoff batter Joel Hull doubled Menlo's advantage with a two-out single that plated Finley. The Oaks were ahead 2-0 through seven innings.
Chapman had the top of its order due up in the eighth inning, but Koontz quickly put it to bed. Koontz induced three straight ground outs to retire the side in order. In the ninth, facing the heart of the Panthers lineup, Koontz got two more ground outs, including a game-ending 6-4-3 double play after he walked Matt Luzar.
Koontz' biggest pickle came in the sixth inning. Ryan Prechtl doubled with one out and advanced to third on a ground out. Koontz walked the next two batters to load the bases before striking out Luzar looking to end the threat.
At that point Menlo was already kicking itself for not taking the lead in the fourth inning. Shane Parsons and Chris Mazza struck back-to-back singles with nobody out. Parsons was put out on a Michael Brandi fielder's choice, but Binder followed with a single that filled the bases. Designated hitter Kyle Wilkerson had a golden opportunity to put the Oaks ahead, but grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Finley and Hull each went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Binder was 2-for-2 with a run scored. C.J. Dailey singled in the first inning for Menlo. Koontz needed 123 pitches to get the win on the mound.
Menlo improves to 17-11 on the season and has won seven straight. The Oaks host Chapman (20-5) for a doubleheader at 12 p.m. on Saturday. The series culminates with a game at 1 p.m. on Sunday.