Sagehens Overwhelm Poets With Series Sweep

Coming off a series win against
the University of Redlands Bulldogs, the Pomona-Pitzer baseball team (11-3, 8-1 SCIAC) extended their winning streak
to five this past weekend as the Sagehens dominated the Whittier College Poets (2-11,
1-5 SCIAC) in three straight games, propelling themselves to a tie for first place in
the SCIAC standings.

After
starting the season with two SCIAC series wins, it would have been easy for the
Hens to grow complacent with their early success thus far. This team, though, is far from satisfied with its results so early in the season and
continues to practice and strive to win every game.

“Our
practice regimen is always consistent,” shortstop Sam Fox PZ ’15 wrote in an email to TSL. “Regardless of the past weekend we just
try to improve every week. Against Whittier we knew we had
the opportunity to get some momentum behind us and that’s what we did.”

This series
against Whittier was especially important to the team after last year’s
results. Having lost all four games to the Poets in 2014, the Hens felt like
they had something to prove to their SCIAC foes.

“Whittier
was a team last year that took it to us, so I wanted our guys to have a little
bit of a chip on their shoulder going into the week and really take it
seriously,” head coach Frank Pericolosi said.

This
desire for revenge resonated with the players, who also felt like they owed Whittier
a beating (or three).

“We wanted
to go get them,” Fox wrote. “That’s the first time they had swept us in more than 10 years, I
think. We knew that wasn’t good enough.”

The Hens came out strongly in the first game Feb. 27, led by pitcher
Lane Miles PO ’17. Miles threw a complete game, giving up only four hits and one
run and striking out eight. Backing Miles on offense was a multitude of
players, including Tanner Nishioka PO ’17 and Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16, both of whom added homers. With hot bats and deadly
pitching, the Hens were able to 10-run rule the Poets and end the game after only seven
innings with a final score of 11-1.

Going into
Saturday morning, the Hens brought the same intensity to the second game as
they did to the first. This time Cameron Yen PZ ’16 led them on the mound, throwing a
complete game shutout with three strikeouts to give P-P a 13-0 win. 

Despite Yen’s shutout,
the most exciting plays of the game belonged to Fox, who hit his first two
home runs of his four-year career. Fox knocked the first ball out in the first
inning, giving the Hens an early 1-0 lead. After a single in the second, Fox
ended with a grand slam in the seventh, pushing the Hens above the necessary
threshold to end the game after seven innings.

For
Pericolosi, this was a proud moment as head coach.

“Sam had a
career day for him,” Pericolosi said. “He’s a tremendous, hardworking kid who’s really developed
as much as any guy that I’ve had from an offensive standpoint, from where he was
as a freshman to where he is now.”

Although they had already won the series, the Hens had one more game on Saturday to complete
the sweep. Fox stepped up to the plate after two scoreless innings by both teams and homered to left field, driving
in Nishioka and himself for his third homer of the day and his career. P-P never
looked back as they went on to win 6-2 and extend their win streak to five.

While unsurprised by the outcomes of the games, Fox was pleasantly surprised by his own batting over
the weekend.

“It was
surreal, honestly,” Fox wrote. “I’ve been chasing a home run for four years and it was something
the guys teased me about daily. I’m glad I could answer, but I’m much
more happy that the homers came in big spots and helped us win a few big games.”

After a
tremendous weekend, the Hens have little turnaround as they play Ithaca College March 8 and 9 at home. Despite
Ithaca’s consistent ranking in the top 25 nationally, coach Pericolosi is
confident in his team’s ability to continue their success.

“We just
need to keep rolling the way we have been rolling, not get caught up in our
success so far and really focus on one game at a time,” Pericolosi said. “Our
goal is to just win the first one on Sunday and then focus on the next one.”

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