Walkenbach earns first win as Stags head coach

Jack Witte - Photo by Louise Anderson
Jack Witte - Photo by Louise Anderson

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team scored seven runs and erased a 4-0 deficit in the sixth inning of their only matchup with the Willamette Bearcats to walk away with their first win under first year head coach Bill Walkenbach.

Freshman outfielder Deji Andrew (HMC) had a strong game defensively for CMS, making a number of spectacular catches kick started by a diving grab in right field at the top of the second inning. Despite Andrew's early play, Willamette took a 1-0 lead on a single to the left side with two runners on.

The teams traded quiet innings until the top of the fourth when Mason Fessle was walked and proceeded to hustle across the diamond on an ensuing double from Ty Watt for a 2-0 Bearcat lead. Willamette added two more in the fourth and appeared to be in control up 4-0.

Sophomore relief pitcher John O'Malley (CMC) made quick work of the Bearcats in the fifth and sixth innings, paving the way for a game-changing bottom of the sixth.

With sophomore infielder Alex Clemens (CMC) and Andrew already on base, sophomore infielder/outfielder Chase Eller (CMC) put the Stags on the board with a sacrifice fly to center. Junior catcher Evan Opperman (CMC), sophomore infielder Nolan Anderson (CMC) and sophomore outfielder Trey Smith (CMC) proceeded to drive in runs before senior infielder Jack Witte (CMC) captured the Stags' first home run of the year to turn a 4-0 deficit into a 7-4 lead.

Each team added one more to their run totals in the seventh inning and sophomore pitcher Jacob Brady (CMC) sealed the win for the Stags with a solid eighth and ninth in which he only allowed one hit and struck out three batters.

The 8-6 victory improves the Stags' early season record to 1-1 and marks the first time since 2010 CMS has split its first two games of the season.

Opperman, Smith and Witte each had two RBI's for the Stags as O'Malley earned his first win of 2016.

Catcher Jack Brett went 2-2 with two runs scored and a home run for the Bearcats who used four pitchers in the loss.

CMS will travel to the University of Antelope Valley for a double-header with the Pioneers Feb. 13. 

By Tony Steege
Sports Information Assistant

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