Menthen’s Blast Gives Stags Victory in Series Finale

After suffering tough losses in the
first two games of its series against Rutgers University, Newark (5-8), the
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team (2-24, 0-15) closed out the weekend on a
high note by defeating the Scarlet Raiders 11-10 in an exciting series finale
March 21. 

“Coming off of spring break is
always a little bit of a challenge to refocus,” pitcher Clayton Brock CM’16
said. “But our coaches did a good job of getting us ready. Our offense had a good
weekend and we showed good resilience.”

The
Stags displayed offensive prowess in the series opener March 20 by collecting three runs in the first
inning. First baseman Nolan Anderson CM ’18 started the fireworks by blasting a double
to left field to plate third baseman Nick Lillie CM ’17. Designated
hitter MacKenzie Menthen CM ’16 followed that up with a double of his own to
bring in right fielder Trey Smith CM ’18 and Anderson. Anderson would go on to
lead the team with four hits on the day.

CMS had difficulty containing the
bats of Rutgers-Newark as the Scarlet Raiders collected 16 hits in the
game and CMS was unable to scrape enough runs together, eventually falling 11-7.

CMS endured an even rougher game in
the first matchup on Saturday as the Rutgers-Newark offense exploded with 21
hits and 13 runs to capture the 13-2 victory over CMS.

“We needed to pitch and play
defense better,” head coach Morgan Cummins said. “A lot of balls were hit where
we weren’t, but then we made some bad pitches and suffered the
consequence. If we could have gotten to a few more balls on defense, things may
have been a little different.”

Despite heading into their third
game with two losses behind them, the Stags managed to regroup and take the field
for the second game on Saturday with an optimistic attitude.

“We’re a young team, so there had
been a big learning curve for everyone,” Brock said. “The whole season we have
played tough and made games interesting down the stretch. It’s just a matter of
staying focused and remembering that as long as we stick to our approach, things
will turn around for us.”

With that mindset, the Stags were
able to score seven runs in the first three innings to gain an early lead that
ignited their confidence for the remainder of the game.

“We have good chemistry on our team,” Cummins
said. “Our players are selfless and play for each other. Our players
continually fight back.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning
with the bases loaded, Menthen launched a double into the outfield, bringing all
three Stags home and tying the score. A few pitches later Menthen scored on a
sacrifice fly by third baseman Robby Weissenfels CM ’18, securing a comeback win
for CMS.

Menthen delivered a key performance
at the plate, going four-for-five contributing with a double, a home run, six RBIs and two runs scored.

“MacKenzie is a great player; he’s
a big guy and plays the game really fluidly on the mound and at the plate,”
Brock said. “He has a solid approach, is one of our most consistent hitters
and has absolutely been tearing the cover off the ball.”

The Stags then took on the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4-3) March 25 and lost 9-6, despite
out-hitting the Engineers 16-12. 
Menthen, Anderson and center fielder Michael Gose CM ’15 each provided a
spark on offense by combining for 10 hits, including a triple from Gose in the
bottom of the ninth that gave the Stags a glimmer of hope.

“MIT is a team no one on the squad
had played before, so to some degree we [didn’t] know what to expect,” Brock said.
“Anytime we play a team from the east coast, it’s a good game and we
look forward to it.”

In anticipation of their upcoming
three-game series against the California Institute of Technology (2-19, 0-12) March
27-28, the Stags plan on strengthening their consistency and endurance as a
team. 

“We have continued to work on the
importance of every play so we can play a complete game for nine innings, “
Cummins said. “We want to continue to learn as much as we can about the game so
we can put a product on the field that our fans are proud of.”

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