Men’s Baseball Gets Much Needed Wins Against Redlands

After a successful series against a good Chapman team, the Pomona-Pitzer baseball team prepared for another tough matchup against the defending SCIAC champion Redlands Bulldogs March 30 and 31. The Sagehens proved to be more than up to the challenge, taking two out of three against Redlands including a 17-0 stomping in the opening game of the series. The two wins improved the Hens’ record to 16-11-1 overall and 10-8 in SCIAC. The Sagehens now sit in fourth place in SCIAC, still within striking distance of first-place Cal Lu and La Verne. 

To open the series in Friday’s game against Redlands, the Sagecocks sent staff ace Travis Rooke-Ley PZ ’12 to the mound to pick up where they left off against Chapman. Rooke-Ley certainly lived up to the billing and got plenty of run support behind him, even without James Campbell PO ’12, who had been on a tear of late but is now sidelined with an injury and has been spotted around campus sporting a cane. The Sagehens started out strong, pushing three runs across the board in the bottom half of the first, thanks to a towering three-run shot by Erik Munzer PZ ’13. The Sagehens would not stop there and broke out for six runs in the second, highlighted by a two-run home run to right center by first-year standout Jake Bruml PO ’15. The Hens put up another crooked number for a third inning in a row, scoring three runs again in the third. After taking a little bit of a break in the fourth, the Hens got back to business in the fifth, putting runs on the board once again to solidify the lead. 

Catcher Travis Bowers PO’14 said, “We really exploded offensively in the first game early in the game, which took some pressure off of our staff for the rest of the weekend.”

Throughout the game, it seemed like the P-P offense could almost score at will, getting production from throughout the lineup. Nine different players got hits in the game, and seven different Hens came up with RBIs. Munzer and EJ Lopez PZ ’15 did most of the damage for the Hens, collecting four RBIs apiece. This was a breakout game for the first-year Lopez, who went 3 for 4, including two doubles, one of which was just short of being a home run. After being in a little bit of a slump—relative to his normally high offensive production—the past couple of weeks, Nick Gentili PO ’13 also had a good game, hitting two doubles and bringing in three runs in the process. This is a very good sign for the Hens, who are entering the final stretch of SCIAC play and will face a lot of tough pitching in the coming weeks.  

Rooke-Ley had yet another great performance on the mound for the Sagecocks, throwing his second complete game shutout of the season. Rooke-Ley hit his spots all game and scattered only five hits over his seven innings of work, while striking out four.  One of those strikeouts came in a key situation in the game and effectively ended all hopes for a Bulldog comeback. With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fourth for the Bulldogs, Rooke-Ley froze the Redlands’ batter for the strikeout, ending Redlands’ only series threat of the game. Rooke-Ley now has a 6-2 record on the season and a low 1.89 ERA. 

Bowers, who caught Rooke-Ley, had only good things to say about his performance. The Hens also played solid defense behind their ace pitcher, turning two double plays up the middle.  

On Saturday, the Sagehens kept the ball rolling and put up great offensive numbers against the Bulldogs. After a relatively slow start, the Hens broke out for seven runs in the fourth. Redlands would make it close by plating four runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the Sagehen offense was just too much for the Bulldogs, and the Hens went on to the 10-6 win. Bruml, who also started for the Hens, had another big game at the plate, collecting three RBIs and another first-year, Isaac Richard III PO ’15 also had a good game for the Sagecocks, bringing in two runs on two hits. 

The Sagehens take the field this weekend against Sixth Street rivals CMS. The Stags are currently in the middle of a nine-game losing streak, including a three-game sweep by Occidental this past weekend, and the Sagecocks hope to take advantage of the sinking Stags and get some much-needed SCIAC victories. According to Bowers, “The CMS series is always a
big one as both teams always come to play for this one. Regardless of how teams
have been doing during the season, this series is always close.  We have been working hard all week and hope
to go out there and sweep a series from them.” The Hens play at CMS today at three and have a doubleheader tomorrow at home, with the first pitch at 11 a.m.   

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