Sagehens Snatch Series From Chapman

The
Pomona-Pitzer baseball team picked up an important series win this past
weekend, rallying after losing the opening game to Chapman University (21-11, 14-7 SCIAC) April 10. The Sagehens grabbed identical 7-4 wins in a doubleheader the following day to salvage the series victory. 

P-P (22-10, 14-7 SCIAC) went
into the series licking its wounds after a loss the previous week against California Lutheran University (22-10, 14-7 SCIAC) that put a top-four finish, and subsequent entry into the SCIAC
postseason tourney, into jeopardy for the Sagehens. 

Still, P-P had a chance to
get back into the discussion, not just for a playoff spot but also for a regular
season title as they welcomed fellow conference heavyweight Chapman to Alumni Field on Friday afternoon. The Sagehens began the day knowing they required a better defensive effort in particular, after conceding 31 runs in three games against Cal Lutheran. Head coach Frank Pericolosi
remarked before the game that he believed the run-glut was a temporary lapse in
form. 

“I don’t think our
pitching gave us a chance …[but] we have been solid on the mound most of the
year,” Pericolosi said.

Unfortunately, there was not much solidity to be found in
the Sagehens’ pitching as Friday’s opener got under way. Chapman racked up three runs in both the second and sixth innings to take a commanding 6-0
lead. P-P rallied in the bottom of the sixth with shortstops Sam Fox PZ ’15
notching a double to increase his hit streak to 20 games in a row. Fox’s hit scored first baseman Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16
and right fielder Mark Okuma PZ ’15, closing the gap to 6-2. 

In the following two innings, the teams traded a run each, Chapman in the seventh and P-P in the eighth, to keep the
gap at four heading into the ninth. A salvageable situation for the Sagehens,
however, then got drastically out of hand as the Panthers exploded for nine runs in the top of the ninth inning. The Sagehens couldn’t manage a similar feat in their last at-bat, and
the game ended in a 16-3 rout.

The opening game of the next day’s doubleheader at
Chapman began with another positive offensive start by the home team, who went
ahead 2-0 after the first. Fox once again notched an RBI in the third, but the score remained at 2-1 heading into the eighth inning. A two-run blast by center fielder Tanner Nishioka PO ’17 put P-P in the lead, but the resilient Panthers responded with two
runs of their own in the bottom of the same inning to restore a one-run cushion. 

Despite losing the lead, P-P was unfazed. A four-run burst in the top of the ninth, with Fox,
Nishioka and pinch runners Adam Hinthorne PO ’18 and Billy Morales PZ ’16 all rounding home,
saw the Sagehens break the game open. Nick Olmanson PO ’18 continued his strong
pitching cameo in the bottom of the ninth to shut out Chapman, and the Sagehens
had the series leveled heading into the nightcap.

The third game, which saw usual relief pitcher David
Gerics PO ’17 take a starting role, also saw P-P take the lead first for the first
time in the series with second baseman Matt Omori PZ ’18, catcher Kevin Jordan PZ ’17 and third baseman E. J. Lopez PZ
’15 giving the visitors a 3-0 lead in the second. 

Chapman answered with a run of their own, but P-P only extended its lead in the fifth and sixth
innings as designated hitter Timmy Novom PO ’15, Omori and Rosenbaum all picked up RBIs to extend
the lead to 7-1. The six-run margin proved to be too much for Chapman, who was kept fairly quiet on the back of an excellent game from Gerics. Coach Pericolosi was much more content with his team’s performance in the last two games of the series.

“We just played much better games,” Pericolosi said. “We pitched well and got good hits at good times.”

With their
second 7-4 win of the day, the Sagehens joined Chapman, Cal Lutheran and Occidental College (19-13, 14-7 SCIAC) in a four-way tie for second place in the SCIAC with a 14-7 conference record. All four teams are sitting just behind the University of La Verne (18-13, 15-6 SCIAC). 

The Sagehens will look to
secure their place in the postseason, and perhaps even grab a regular season
title on the way, as they face the prospect of a series next weekend against a still-winless California Institute of Technology (2-28, 0-21 SCIAC).

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