The Pomona-Pitzer baseball team started off SCIAC play this past weekend against Whittier on the right foot, winning two of three games and putting up 27 runs in the process.
The Sagehens were able to beat the Whittier Poets in the first two games of the three-game set before their first lost of the season in the third game following a rain delay that forced the series finale to be finished on Sunday. The Sagehens’ overall record now stands at 3-1-1 and 2-1 in SCIAC.
On Friday, the Hens took to the road for their first SCIAC game of the season, and while the home advantage might have helped the Poets take an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the Sagehens quickly found their stride.
After being held hitless for the first three innings, the Sagehen offense finally got to the Whittier pitching in the fourth, pushing two runs across the plate, thanks to RBIs from Ben Cohen PZ ’12 and E.J. Lopez PZ ’15.
With momentum already in their favor, the P-P offense kept the hits coming in the fifth, putting five runs on the board. The highlight of the inning was a two-run homerun launched over the left field fence off the bat of Jake Bruml PO ’15.
On the other side of the ball, Travis Rooke-Ley PZ ’12 had another great outing, shutting down the Poet offense for seven innings. Rooke-Ley got the win after he gave up one unearned run while striking out five, and the bullpen held onto the lead for the 10-5 win.
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Hens’ offense started out strong, scoring six runs in the first two innings. Nick Gentili PO’13 led the team with four RBIs, collecting three hits, including a monster solo homerun in the eighth.
“Nick Gentili had a great series. He is seeing the ball really well,” Bruml said. After this past weekend, Gentili is now batting a tremendous .556 on the season.
On the mound for the Hens, Bruml followed up his great offensive performance the day before with a solid pitching performance on Saturday. Bruml threw five innings, only giving up one earned run. Colin Majev PZ’15 came in the ninth and pitched a perfect inning to finish off the Poets. The Sagehens also made some great defensive plays to help out their pitchers, including a nice play on a chopper to third in the fifth by James Campbell PO ’12.
After getting through the first five innings of the second half of the doubleheaders, heavy rain forced the game to be suspended until the next day. The rain delay may have helped the Hens by slowing down some of the Poets’ momentum, but unfortunately P-P was unable to complete the comeback and fell 9-6 in their first loss of the season. Guy Stevens PO’13 pitched five and a third solid innings in relief for the Sagehens, allowing only two earned runs in the losing effort.
Despite the loss in the final game, the Sagehens looked good throughout the series, and the offense kept rolling, putting up a total of 27 runs over three games. Bruml attributed this huge offensive production to “the work we put in on a day-to-day basis.”
“We are out there for early batting practice, we get an hour of hitting in before practice even starts, then go through practice and have either batting practice or hitting off live pitchers everyday,” Bruml said.
The Hens have also been playing some effective “small ball” to go along with timely hitting, including a perfect bunt by Mike Moyer PO ’13 down the third base line to get things rolling in the sixth, followed up by a successful hit-and-run, albeit aided by a Poet miscue, to get Moyer in scoring position. Moyer would eventually score on a sacrifice fly from Campbell.
The Sagehens face the Caltech Beavers this weekend for a three-game set, looking to improve their SCIAC record. Despite the fact that Caltech went winless last year, the Hens are not taking the Beavers lightly. Bruml said the Sagehens have to “treat it as every other game because… it is a SCIAC series, so any team, if they fight hard enough, can come back and beat you.” The only home game in the series will be today at 2:30 p.m.