REDLANDS, Calif. – Despite the rough start to the weekend series against the University of Redlands, dropping the first two games 12-0 and 4-1, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team managed to string an incredible 12-run comeback in the final game of the series against the Bulldogs to win 18-15. Junior Chase Eller (CMC) impressed in the series, batting .500, knocking in three RBIs, and scoring two runs, while senior Evan Opperman (CMC) also hit .500 with four runs and an RBI.
The first game did not go in the Stags' favor as the Bulldogs worked through a 12-0 victory on Friday afternoon. Felix Minjarez had a solid performance on the mound, throwing a complete game shutout with seven strikeouts. Christopher Scalisi had a perfect day at the plate for Redlands, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run.
Freshman Konnor Kwok (CMC) had a solid day on the mound in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, going seven innings and giving up only one run, but the Bulldogs prevailed in the pitching duel as a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning gave them the 4-1 victory. Michael Collins had a solid start to match Kwok as he went 7.2 innings, giving up one run and striking out six.
The Stags scored in the top of the first inning after Opperman knocked in an RBI single to bring home sophomore Ryan Motter (CMC) from second. Jordan Babbitt tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly to bring home a runner from third.
Both teams remained tied until the eighth inning when Rainier Aguilar drilled a two-run RBI triple to right center to give Redlands the lead. Brendan Moore brought him home with an RBI double to left field to make it 4-1. John White struck out the side in the top of the ninth to earn the win for Redlands.
The Stags were eager to avenge the earlier losses and did so in spectacular fashion, coming back from a 14-6 deficit in the final two innings to win 18-15. Junior Trey Smith (CMC) was productive at the plate, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs, including a three-run homerun and a two-run RBI triple while freshman Henri Levenson (CMC) and Eller each chipped in three RBIs.
Falling behind 3-0 early in the game, the Stags put up two runs in the third and fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead. With a runner on third in the top of the fifth inning, freshman Emmett Covello (CMC) knocked an RBI double to right center to add an insurance run. However, the lead was short-lived as the Bulldogs went on a tear with a seven-run rally in the bottom of the sixth. They added four more runs in the seventh inning to take a 14-6 lead.
CMS refused to finish the weekend empty-handed and embarked on its biggest comeback of the season to win the game. In the top of the eighth, after Motter reached first on an error, advancing Levenson to third, Eller capitalized on the situation with an RBI single to spark the rally. Opperman followed with a hard grounder through the right side for an RBI single and Smith smashed a three-run bomb over the left field fence to put the Stags within three. Levenson added one more run on a fielder's choice groundball and Eller capped it off with a two-run single through the left side to tie the game.
In the top of the ninth, the Stags executed a double steal as junior Nick DeGallier (CMC) took off to second while Smith raced towards home from third base. Sophomore Jack Savard (CMC) followed with an RBI single down the middle to score DeGallier. Levenson capped the rally with a two-run homerun to bring in Savard and take an 18-14 lead. With one out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, senior John O'Malley (CMC) forced Jake Bryant into a double play from third to first to end the game.
The Stags will remain close to home as they play in the Sixth Street Rivalry series against Pomona-Pitzer starting on Friday, April 7 at 3 p.m. The team will open the series at Pomona-Pitzer before hosting the Sagehens on Saturday for a doubleheader.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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