Stags Start Strong, Falter in Final Games

Emmett Covello CM ‘20 makes contact to get the inning going against Whitman College on Feb. 11. (Alyssa Alfonso • The Student Life)

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team (1-3) took to the field for the first time in the 2017 season this past weekend. Their opening series against Whitman College from Walla Walla, Washington, was a set of four home games. Although they got off to a good start by winning the first game, the overall results were disappointing as they dropped the last three.

The Stags did not lack for offense, as they scored a combined total of 19 runs. They allowed 26, however, which was simply too much. In each of their three losses, they were outscored by four runs.

Their first game was a victory nonetheless, and it broke a decade-long streak of opening-game losses. Pitcher Sam Baughman CM ‘17 started the first game and went five innings strong, giving up two runs. When he left the game, CMS was up 4-2, but reliever Cameron Cash CM ‘20 surrendered the three runs that put Whitman ahead by the end of the eighth inning.

CMS tied the game in the bottom of the ninth when Henri Levenson CM ’20 advanced home on a wild pitch by Whitman. The inning was a series of errors and miscues by Whitman, and the Stags were probably considering themselves lucky to push the game into extras.

In the top half of the 10th inning, Whitman retook the lead with an unearned run off the Stags’ third pitcher of the game, John O’Malley CM ’18. Facing a situation where they needed to score, the Stags delivered and walked off on a Levenson single that brought Kevin Nakahara HM ’20 home. It was quite the first game for first-years Levenson, Nakahara and Emmett Covello CM ’20, as they combined for four runs and five RBIs.

The result of the second game of the Saturday doubleheader was not so inspiring for the team and seemed to indicate what would come for the rest of the weekend. The final score of this shortened game was 6-2 and the Stags never really had a chance. They did not score either of their runs until the bottom of the final inning when they were already losing 6-0. Starting pitcher Brandon Louie CM ’20 suffered the first loss of his career in a five-inning outing. Lefty Daniel Enzmango CM ’18 finished the game in relief with a decent showing.

Hoping they could finish the weekend strong on Sunday, the Stags were to be disappointed as they suffered two more losses. Things looked good halfway through the third game of the series, but their one-run lead was incinerated by the seven runs Whitman put up in the 5th and 6th innings. The two runs that Whitman added in the top of the eighth made the two CMS added in the bottom useless. Pitchers Nick DeGallier CM ’19, Konnor Kwok CM ’20, and Jacob McGowan CM ’18 all gave up runs in the loss.

The final game was similarly frustrating. Alex Clemens CM ’18, Chase Eller CM ’18, and Evan Opperman CM ’17 did their part to match Whitman’s four runs through five but the Stags unraveled late again. Whitman took a 5-4 lead when they scored in the sixth and put CMS away with three runs in the seventh.

Looking further into the season, CMS Coach Walkenbach is confident that the team will experience success.

“We just need game experience,” Walkenbach said. “We have a lot of young players getting significant playing time and they need a chance to get themselves settled. As the weeks go on in the spring, I expect them to become more comfortable and confident as they get innings and at-bats under their belts.”

The players will get another chance to prove themselves in their upcoming series against California Institute of Technology this weekend.

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