As temperatures rose and the heat of the sun shone down on the field, the Pomona-Pitzer baseball team (14-18, 7-14 SCIAC) took on Chapman University (20-13, 14-7 SCIAC) on Friday, Apr. 15, at Chapman, and again in a double-header Saturday, Apr. 16, at home. The Sagehens lost the first game to Chapman 9-5 and split Saturday’s double-header with a 8-3 win and a 13-9 loss.
Pomona-Pitzer took the early lead in Friday’s match, as a single from Andrew Phillips PO ’19 got a three-run rally started for the Hens in the top of the third. An additional two runs put P-P ahead of Chapman 5-0 in the top of the fifth inning, with a double for Cade Hulse PO ’18 to bring Tanner Nishioka PO ’17 home. However, Chapman came roaring back, immediately answering the Hens with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another seven in the bottom of the eighth. Down four runs, the Hens couldn’t rally in the ninth inning and fell to the Panthers 9-5.
Although Chapman set the tone as a fierce competitor with their victory on Friday, the Sagehens took the field Saturday with a fiery intensity as hot as the sun. The Panthers were able to score early on in the top of the second, looking to secure a 1-0 lead. However, the Sagehens would not concede. With a deep breath and a set gaze, Matt Omari PZ ’18 strategically shifted his balance and swung the bat to launch the ball toward left field, earning a triple that brought both Hulse Kevin Jordan PZ ’17 home. Hulse’s hit put Sagehens on the board two RBIs in the bottom of the second inning, and P-P took the lead 2-1.
From this point the Panthers and the Sagehens traded run after run, each looking to take the lead in the game. The Panthers could not overtake the swift-footed Sagehens in the first, and P-P baseball ran to a win of 8-3 over Chapman in the first.
Building off the shift in momentum from a fresh victory, the Sagehens were able to maximize on the intensity to earn two RBIs in the bottom of the first. This momentum was carried out throughout the bottom of the second as the Sagehens added four RBIs to the scoreboard.
However, with anger and fortitude in their eyes, the Panthers managed to shift the momentum of the game, as they dominated between the top of the third until the top of the eighth. In that time frame, the Panthers forced 10 RBIs, as well as stringing out a stretch of five innings in which no Sagehen runs were made.
The Sagehens were able to squeeze three runs in the bottom of the eighth, but with a last run in the top of the ninth, the Panthers were able to take the win on a tight game. With a score of 13-9, Chapman took the second game.
Overall, the Sagehens displayed strong offense and defense, despite a rough defeat in game two. Phillips recognized how “the team actually played pretty well during the series, but need[ed] to focus on avoiding the one big inning that killed our momentum.” Phillips went on to describe how “we made improvements defensively and did not seem to force too many plays and let the game come to us,” which amounted to a natural progression of strong gameplay throughout the day.
Pomona-Pitzer Baseball will be looking to add to their victories in upcoming games before heading to the SCIAC playoff round. The Sagehens will be back in action at home on Apr. 22 against California Institute of Technology. The Sagehens will then travel to Pasadena to face Caltech in a double header the following day on Apr. 23 in their last face-off before they compete in the SCIAC Round Robin.