Powerful Pitching Propels P-P Past Caltech in Series Sweep

The
Pomona-Pitzer baseball team closed out regular season play with a three-game demolition of conference bottom-feeder California Institute of Technology (2-31, 0-24 SCIAC). The Sagehens (23-10, 17-7 SCIAC) entered the
game confident after a narrow series win over fellow SCIAC postseason
threat Chapman University (22-13, 15-9 SCIAC). 

Caltech had only won two games all season, none of
which were against SCIAC opposition, but P-P was not about to take anything
for granted, and began setting the tone early in its opener at Caltech April 17.

First baseman/designated hitter Simon
Rosenbaum PO ’16 admitted that the pregame preparations for Caltech were harder than usual.

“It’s always hard because you can’t not know what you
know [in regards to Cal Tech’s winless record], but we prepared as if it were
any other week against any other team and were ready to compete and get a
win,” he said.

In the second inning, a three-run hit from first baseman Jake Bruml PO ’15 and a two RBI double
from left fielder Kevin Brice PO ’16 spearheaded an eight-run explosion, with P-P opening up
a nine-run lead. 

The game was largely a formality after that, with Rosenbaum, catcher Kevin Jordan PZ ’17 and shortstop Sam Fox PZ ’15 joining Brice and
Bruml in the hitting stakes in the top of the third, in which the Sagehens smashed
home an astonishing 14 runs. Starting pitcher Lane Miles PO ’17 eased to a
victory in seven innings, with the game called by the SCIAC mercy rule at a
final score of 29-4 in the visitors’ favor.

Saturday’s
doubleheader at Alumni Field followed a similar script. After four innings in the
opening game, the Sagehens had a double-digit lead and another victory all but
in the bag. 

The main drama came on the defensive side of the field, as pitcher Cameron
Yen PZ ’16 turned in a masterful performance and had a perfect game going into
the seventh inning, when Caltech’s Dave Watson was able to coax a walk from
the pitcher. Yen did manage to preserve the no-hitter, the first in head coach
Frank Pericolosi’s 13-year reign, and the game once again ended after seven innings in a 13-0 romp
for the Sagehens.

With
the series result already decided, game three provided P-P the chance to ensure
that they would remain in a convoluted SCIAC postseason picture. Pitcher David Gerics
PO ’17 struck out the first 10 batters he faced to raise the specter of another
potential perfect game. Although Gerics lost that bid after conceding a couple
hits in the fourth inning, the Sagehens managed to keep Caltech scoreless for a second game in a row. 

With a towering home run from right fielder Michael Caldwell PZ ’17 that went well over the 360-foot left field fence, P-P cruised to a 16-0 victory to finish tied for first in the final SCIAC standings.

Despite
the level of the opposition, the team still came away for the series with confidence for the future.

“It always feels good
to play well and see results, so it’s a good weekend to build on,” Rosenbaum said. “We’re in a good position so we have reason to be confident.” 

With no clear top four in the conference, the Sagehens will play Whittier College (9-26, 7-17 SCIAC) and
Chapman on the road before hosting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-28, 5-19 SCIAC) and the University of Redlands (23-12, 16-8 SCIAC) in the round-robin tournament April 26, looking for the two wins that will book them a spot in the SCIAC
postseason tourney.

While
the stakes are heightened, Rosenbaum feels the team will be inspired to push
itself, especially with the end of a collegiate career looming for the class of
2015. 

“Four years go by fast and our
seniors especially don’t have a lot of time left, so we want to send them out on
top,” he said. “​You never know how many of these opportunities you’re going to
get. This is what we’ve worked for all season, all offseason, on the
field and in the weight room. It just comes down to taking advantage of a
great opportunity to add to the Pomona-Pitzer baseball legacy.”

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