Sagehens Win Three of Four in Round-robin Play

The
Pomona-Pitzer baseball team (28-11, 20-8 SCIAC) booked its spot in the SCIAC postseason
tournament, winning three out of four games in a unique five-team round robin tournament last week to finish the regular season second in the conference
standings. 

P-P ended its regular season slate
of games in a tie for third near the top of a tight SCIAC conference that
failed to yield a clear cut four teams for the conference tourney. With five teams in contention for playoff spots, the Sagehens first played Whittier College (11-28, 9-19 SCIAC) April 22. The Hens needed two wins out of four games to secure a spot in postseason play. 

P-P came out the blocks quickly, with designated hitter Simon Rosenbaum PO ’16
and shortstop Sam Fox PZ ’15 scoring to give the visitors the early advantage. Fox scored
once more in the second inning, along with catcher Kevin Jordan PZ ’17 and center fielder Tanner
Nishioka PO ’17 to give P-P a commanding 5-0 lead. Whittier’s first run had to
wait until the fifth inning, but it failed to ignite a comeback for the home team. Nishioka
smashed a grand slam to left field in the seventh to cap a five-run inning for
P-P to put the game out of reach as the Sagehens won 11-1.

With one
win in the bag, the outlook seemed positive for the Sagehens going on another road trip, this time to Chapman University (23-16, 16-12 SCIAC) April 25. Early scoring was once again a
feature for P-P, with a Fox homer and a double by second baseman Kenny Rabin PO ’15 underlining a five-run second inning for the visitors. Rosenbaum scored in the third to make the
lead 6-0, although Chapman got on the board in the same inning after a fielding
error by P-P. A sacrifice fly by third baseman E.J. Lopez PZ ’15 got Rosenbaum around the bases
yet again in the fifth, and an RBI by the latter drove Jordan home in the
sixth. 

Chapman did grab two more runs in the eighth, but another solid pitching
performance, this time from pitcher David Gerics PO ’17, kept the home team at bay as P-P clinched a guaranteed spot in the SCIAC postseason
tournament.

With playoff
berth confirmed, the Sagehens entered a home doubleheader April 26 with little
pressure on their backs, but found themselves in a tight encounter early with the University of Redlands (27-12, 20-8 SCIAC). 

Fox and Nishioka scored in the third to make it 3-2 after
the Bulldogs had briefly taken the lead. Redlands fought back, however, scoring four runs in a methodical
sixth inning to once again open a one-run lead. Fox and Jordan scored in the bottom of the inning to swing the momentum back to P-P, but those
would end up being the Sagehens’ last runs of the game. Redlands took the game with a decisive 9-7 result.

“Redlands was a strong opponent, and we played them well even though we lost,” pitcher Benjamin Wood PO ’18 said. “We drew them in the first round of the playoffs and we eagerly await a shot at redemption.”

The second
game of the day saw P-P welcome familiar rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-32, 5-23 SCIAC) to Alumni Field,
in the Sagehens’ final chance to gain practice before the playoffs. With
Fox, Nishioka, Jordan, and Rosenbaum once again in good hitting form, P-P
raced out to an early lead, with an 8-2 in the third. CMS found its feet in the fourth inning, closing the lead to 8-6. 

The Sagehens kept
their nerve, however, and RBIs in the bottom of the eighth from first baseman Jake Bruml PO
’15, second baseman Matt Omori PZ ’18, and left fielder Kevin Brice PO ’16 gave P-P a decisive 13-11
advantage. 

With the win, the Sagehens regathered some vital momentum ahead of
their first game of the SCIAC Tournament May 1 against the University of Redlands. 

“Our motto is: let the Sagehen eat,” Wood said. “And we plan on doing that this weekend. Because the Hens hungry!”

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