The Pomona-Pitzer baseball team continued its winning ways this past weekend, defeating Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by the mercy rule in the first two games of the series and finishing off the sweep with a tight 4-2 victory in the final game. P-P remains undefeated after the sweep as they sit atop the standings with a 7-0 record, 3-0 in SCIAC.
Going into the game, Coach Frank Pericolosi stressed to his team the importance of mental focus, especially in a series against the cross-street rivals.
“Coach P really preaches that every game counts. It doesn’t matter if it is early in the season, middle of the season, late in the season. Every game is important,” said staff ace Jake Bruml PO ’15 after the game. “He just wanted us to have good intensity.” Based on the weekend’s results, it seems that the Hens took Coach P’s words to heart and played focused, hard-nosed baseball all weekend from the very first inning of the three-game set.
In Friday’s game, the Hens scored early and often, pushing one run across the plate in all seven innings. Nick Gentili PO ’13 set the tempo, hitting a bomb down the right-field line that soared over the fence for a solo home run, giving the home team a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Hens would add to their lead from there.
The Sagehens were two runs away from ending the game due to the mercy rule in the bottom of the seventh. After Mark Okuma PZ ’15 nailed a line drive over the third baseman’s head, Erik Munzer PO ’13 singled up the middle two batters later. With Mike Moyer PO ’13 at the plate, Okuma and Munzer both advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Moyer cashed in on the CMS mistake and launched the next pitch into the right-center field gap, one-hopping the wall and scoring Okuma and Munzer to end the game 11-1 in walk-off fashion.
From the mound, Jake Bruml pitched another great game, improving his record to 2-0 so far this season. Bruml continued to showcase his improved control, giving up no walks while striking out five in six innings and only allowing one earned run.
The Sagehens’ offensive outburst continued on Saturday. The Hens jumped out to an 4-0 lead in the first and never looked back, scoring at least one run in the next five innings and securing their second consecutive win by the mercy rule 13-3 after seven innings of play. Gentili hit his second home run of the weekend, and Bruml led the team with three RBIs.
The final game of the series proved to be a tightly contested affair and required all nine innings to determine the victor. After trading runs in the second inning, the Sagehens were able to break the tie in the top of the fifth and put three runs on the board thanks to some timely hitting and some defensive errors by the Stags. CMS scored a run in the bottom half of the inning to get within two, but the Sagehen bullpen shut the Stags down from there. Robert Weller PO ’14 found himself in a jam with the tying runs on base in the eighth, but the Pomona junior struck out Stag second baseman Jack Witte CM ’16 to end the inning. Weller then set the Stags down 1-2-3 in the ninth to lock down his third save of the season, securing the 4-2 win and the series sweep.
Both of Saturday’s games also featured great pitching performances from Cameron Yen PZ ’16 and Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16. Both first-years are now 2-0 on the season and look poised to be a vital part of the P-P pitching staff the rest of the year. Yen pitched six innings of one run ball and might have pitched more if the game had not been so lopsided. Rosenbaum pitched six innings in the final game, allowing only two earned runs.
“Both of them have proven on a weekly basis that they deserve to be marched out there and continue to succeed in games,” Bruml said of the two first-year hurlers.
The Sagehens continue SCIAC play this weekend when they square off against the Kingsmen of California Lutheran University. This will be yet another tough weekend for the Hens. The Kingsmen finished a close third in SCIAC play last season and return many starters, including pre-season All-American Honorable Mention shortstop Trevor Koons.
“They are a great team. I personally think they are our biggest competition in SCIAC. They have a really tough lineup and a great pitching staff,” Bruml said.
The Hens play Friday at Cal Lutheran and have a home doubleheader on Saturday. The first game starts at 11 a.m., and the second game is slated to begin at 2 p.m.