After splitting the first two games of a series against the University of La Verne (7-5, 7-2 SCIAC) March 3 and 4, starting pitcher Konnor Kwok CM ’20 looked to give the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team (10-7, 4-2 SCIAC) a series win over the Leopards in the rubber match Sunday afternoon.
While Kwok gave his best effort by not giving up a hit through five innings of work, the Stags saw their 5-0 lead quickly evaporate. The Leopards piled on six runs in the sixth and seventh innings, as some unfortunate defensive errors caused their lead to quickly slip away.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Stags found themselves down 6-5. They were able to tie it up: With the bases loaded, Brandon Mitchell CM ’21 came up to the plate and drew a huge walk, bringing in the tying run.
The game remained tense for the final two innings, and the Stags looked like they might pull out the win. However, in the top of the ninth, errors once again came back to haunt the Stags; a poor throw by Patrick Gavin CM ‘21 let the winning run score, causing CMS to lose the game and the series, in heartbreaking fashion.
A day earlier, in the first game of the series, the Stags simply failed to compete. Cameron Cash CM ’20 took the mound trying to continue his solid start to the season, and although the Stags scored first in the second inning thanks to a single by second baseman Patrick Gavin CM ’21, it would ultimately be the Leopards’ day.
With a 5-1 lead in the sixth, La Verne used a huge six-run inning to pad the score and put the game completely out of reach. Cash was pulled after five innings, allowing nine earned runs and striking out two, while La Verne came out on top 12-1.
“We now know we are certainly capable of beating the best teams in the league but are also prone to having bad games,” pitcher Justin Hull CM ’20 said after the opener.
In the first game Sunday, the Stags were able to right the ship. Hull took the mound early Sunday morning, and was able to continue his strong start to the season with his finest performance to date.
Hull carried the Stags to a 7-1 victory, pitching all nine innings, striking out five batters, and only giving up seven hits.
The men’s bats certainly provided their support as well. In the fifth inning, the game was still tied 1-1, but the Stags’ offense suddenly came alive. Mitchell hit a solo home run, then outfielder Henri Levenson CM ’20 hit an RBI triple.
The Stags then continued to knock in runs the next inning. Catcher Carson Bridges CM ’21 knocked in a run with a double and Gavin capped the game off by destroying a three-run home-run to deep left field. The Stags won the game 7-1.
“I think this weekend was an OK weekend for us, as it showed us that it’s up to us how we want to do in the league this year,” Hull said. “I think it’s a good sign overall, because we know that if we play our best game we’re just as good as the rest of the league.”