Although Pomona-Pitzer baseball was coming off a disappointing showing against the University of La Verne the previous weekend, the team headed into their game against the California Institute of Technology on April 4 prepared to show that they could turn things around. The Sagehens delivered, sweeping their three-game series against Caltech and improving their record to 12-17, 6-13 SCIAC. With the loss, Caltech fell to 1-23, 0-19 SCIAC.
During the Friday game, Jake Bruml PO ’15 had a strong performance on the mound, providing a solid foundation upon which the Saghens could capitalize offensively. The Sagehens blew the game open with an 11-run third inning, including a three-run home run from Bruml.
Walking away with a 14-2 win, the Sagehens earned head coach Frank Pericolosi his 300th career victory. Pericolosi, who is in his 11th season as head coach, has amassed a 300-173-1 record during his tenure.
“It was nice to accomplish, but it was also really nice to hear from a lot of former players after I got it through text message and email with congratulations,” Pericolosi said. “It definitely gives you time to reflect on some of the successes our players have had over the last 12 years here and the great seasons we’ve had here.”
Kenny Rabin PO ’15 said that Pericolosi’s success reflects his personality and coaching strategy.
“He does a good job of keeping everybody accountable,” Rabin said. “He doesn’t let people get off with being complacent or being average. He does a good job of straddling the line. You never hate him; you know he just wants you to get better and wants you to stay accountable for what you do. And he really preaches that for us.”
After the big win on Friday, the Sagehens headed into Saturday aiming to keep their momentum going.
Lane Miles PO ’17 had a strong start to make way for another impressive Sagehen offensive showing. In his usual style, Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16 dominated the Caltech pitching staff, going four-for-five—all four of his hits were doubles. He finished the game with three RBIs, and the Sagehens ended the game with a 12-1 victory. Miles pitched the complete game and kept Caltech to just one run out of their eight total hits.
Heading into the nightcap, it briefly looked as though Caltech was poised to earn the third-game victory. The Caltech Beavers held a 3-0 lead for five innings, but the Sagehens answered in the sixth inning with five runs. Caltech notched one more run in the sixth, but P-P scored 11 runs in the eighth and final inning to win the game 16-4.
Again Rosenbaum dominated at the plate, going three-for-four with a double and two RBIs. Rabin also went 3-4 with two RBIs in a similarly strong offensive effort.
Rabin explained that although Caltech is at the bottom of the league standings, the sweep has created good momentum for P-P.
“We usually look to the Caltech weekend as a good chance to get us back on track,” he said. “They aren’t a great program, but they are getting better. And during our third game, they played us pretty close. It just shows that you really have to have the focus through all three games in a series, and we’ve had a hard time with that this year. So getting all three wins, even against the bottom team in the conference, is good for us.”
This weekend, the Sagehens head up to McMinnville, Ore., to play Linfield College, the No. 1 team in the nation and the Division III defending national champion.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge, and we’re looking forward to it,” Pericolosi said. “I think that it’s a nice opportunity for some team bonding—flying up there and getting away from Claremont and really focusing on baseball for a full weekend.”
Rabin discussed his expectations for the series, looking at the weekend with a similarly optimistic perspective.
“We’re a talented team; we just have a hard time putting it together,” he said. “And every time we get a win, we get a little more hope that we’re going to be able to put it together. I think when we go up there, there’s no reason we couldn’t get some wins off them. At the same time, we know they’re No. 1 in the nation—they won the [DIII College] World Series last year, and they’re a professional program. They know what they’re doing so it’s going to be tough, but we’re optimistic.”
P-P will face off against Linfield in a three-game series, with two games on Saturday, April 12 at 12 p.m and 3 p.m. On Sunday, April 13, they will finish the series with one game at 1 p.m.