Sagehens Salvage One Victory in Key Series Against Kingsmen

The Pomona-Pitzer men’s baseball team dropped to fourth in
the SCIAC standings after losing last weekend’s series to fellow conference
contender California Lutheran University. P-P (20-9, 12-6 SCIAC) dropped the first of the
three-game showdown April 3 then won the afternoon game only to drop the series
decider in Saturday’s nightcap. 

Entering the weekend, the Sagehens stood third in the conference standings,
only one game ahead of the Kingsmen. As only the SCIAC’s top four
finishers claim postseason bids, the Hens were faced with an opportunity to put
some distance between them and their closest challengers. 

Unfortunately for
P-P, Cal Lutheran came out swinging to quickly bury the visiting Sagehens in
Friday’s opener. 

After the completion of the fifth inning, the score stood at 11-0 in the
home side’s favor, after a confident batting display headlined by right fielder
Ramsey Abushahla, who amassed six RBIs in his first three at-bats, including a
three-run double that stretched the Kingsmen’s lead to double figures. 

Left fielder Kevin
Brice PO ’16 had a two-run double in the top of the sixth to at least get the
Sagehens on the board, but it was too little too late. A two-run bottom of
the sixth for Cal Lutheran combined with a scoreless top of the seventh for P-P saw the game
called early.

P-P’s star first baseman Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16 admitted after the game that the team failed to
come out with its strongest foot forward and also credited a strong pitching performance by Whittier’s pitcher.

“We didn’t play with as much energy
as we needed to,” Rosenbaum said. “We had chances early but weren’t able to get that big hit. Their
starter [Scott Peters] hit his spots and kept us off balance.”    

The
Sagehens entered Saturday’s home doubleheader eager to put Friday’s result
behind them, and they did start positively, with pitcher David Gerics PO ’17 starting well
from the mound to keep Cal Lutheran scoreless through five innings. Brice was once
again steady with the bat, smashing a two-run homer in the second and scoring
in the fourth to give the Sagehens the 3-0 advantage heading into the sixth
inning. 

However, the Kingsmen began to find an offensive groove again, with Abushahla
knocking in two RBIs in the top of the sixth and Justin Cana doing the same in the
top of the seventh to briefly take a 4-3 lead. 

Despite the setback, P-P was unperturbed, and RBI
singles from Rosenbaum and designated hitter Jake Bruml PO ’15 in the bottom of the
seventh swung the momentum back to the home team. Bruml helped put the game to
bed in the eighth, collecting two more RBIs to go with another run from shortstop Sam
Fox PZ ’15 to stretch the Sagehens’ advantage to 8-4. 

The Kingsmen failed to find
another comeback, and the game ended in P-P’s favor, meaning the third game of
the doubleheader would decide the series winner.

Rosenbaum
was pleased about the fight shown by his team in the second game.

“We came back with a
sense of urgency, knowing it was a big game,” Rosenbaum said. “We needed to stay confident … I
think playing at home helped us do that.” 

P-P
once again came strong to the beginning of play, with Fox hitting a single to extend his current
hitting streak to 19 games and right-fielder Mark Okuma PZ ’15 adding another run to add to the
Sagehens’ early advantage. 

The visitors, however, struck back decisively in the
top of the second, scoring four runs while securing a lead they would not relinquish. 

Davey Casciola hit a double in the third to make it 6-2, and after
a Kyle Sanchez single in the top of the fourth, it seemed as if Cal Lutheran
was on course for a comfortable win. The Sagehens did briefly rally, with two RBIs from center fielder Tanner Nishioka PO ’17 in the fourth and sixth innings to
bridge the gap to just two runs, but it was not enough.

Rosenbaum
credited the Kingsmen after the game with holding their nerve under the
pressure of a P-P rally.

“We fought to get back into the game, but they
were able to weather the storm,” Rosenbaum said.

Cal Lutheran went on to
score seven more times in the final three innings to secure a 14-5 victory. The win gave the Kingsmen the series and also saw them leapfrog the
Sagehens up to third place in the SCIAC standings. 

With only a few games separating
P-P from the rest of the chasing pack for the final postseason spot, the
Sagehens will be eager to make amends as they prepare to face off against fellow
playoff contender Chapman University April 10 and 11.

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