CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team had a bittersweet series this past weekend against Chapman University as the Stags (13-18, 7-11) took the opener in thrilling fashion before dropping both doubleheaders on the road to the Panthers (21-10, 12-6). Sophomore Ryan Motter (CMC) went 6-for-13 with three RBIs and three runs this series, including a game-winning hit, but the Panthers offense clicked in opportune moments to control this series.
The Panthers' offense looked locked in, crushing two home runs and creating chances to bring runners home. In spite several opportunities to blow out the game, the Panthers could not capitalize in several opportunities due to the Stags' defense. After loading the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth, the Panthers could not convert after Motter snagged a sharp grounder from Gavin Blodgett to get the force out at third. In the next inning, the Panthers placed a runner on second with two outs after Tyler Cook hit a solo shot, but freshman Brandon Louie (CMC) deftly fielder the hard comebacker and threw the batter out at first.
Despite their clutch defensive efforts, the Stags looked frustrated on the offensive end, placing runners in scoring position, but struggling to convert runs. Their fortunes all changed in the bottom of the ninth inning after trailing 5-2 with runners on first and second when senior Evan Opperman (CMC) launched an RBI double to left center. Junior Trey Smith (CMC) carried the momentum with a two-run RBI single to left field to tie the game. After a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th inning thanks to senior relief pitcher John O'Malley (CMC), the Stags managed to present a game-winning opportunity in the bottom of the 10th. After junior Nick DeGallier (CMC) hit a single to left field, sophomore Pat Shore (CMC) came into pinch run. A wild pickoff attempt by Austin Merrill evaded the first baseman as Shore managed to race towards third to become the potential winning run. With two outs and full count, Motter lined a short single over the shortstop to seal the game, causing his teammates to clear the bench in celebration of the comeback.
The first game of Saturday's doubleheader did not go in the Stags' favor despite sophomore Jack Savard's (CMC) 2-for-3, two-RBI performance that game as the Panthers tied the series 6-4. Tyler Peck went seven innings for the Panthers, giving up four runs and striking out four batters for the win while Brad Steiner pitched two scoreless innings for the save.
With his team trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Chapman's Jared Love earned a bases-loaded walk to tie the game. The next batter, Justin Stearn, followed up with a towering grand slam to give the Panthers their first lead of the game.
Savard responded with a two-run RBI single in the following inning, but the Stags could not generate another opportunity for a big comeback.
Despite the hot start to the final game of the series, the Stags dropped the finale 12-7 after a seven-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning carried the Panthers to victory.
The Stags took advantage of some wild pitching in the first inning after loading the bases off two walks and an error as Smith got hit by a pitch to score the first run. Sophomore CJ Novogradac (CMC) was also hit to give CMS a 2-0 lead and Savard brought home two with a single up the middle. With two outs, Motter kept the rally going with a sharp single down the middle to bring in a run and junior Chase Eller (CMC) capped it off with an RBI single, extending the lead 6-0.
Smith added an insurance run in the top of the second with a solo homerun, but the Panthers started to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and a runner on third, Tristan Kevitch hit an RBI double to score Chapman's first run of the game. After Christian Cosby was walked, Aaron Wong hit a three-run homerun to cut the lead 7-4.
After adding two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Panthers exploded for six runs in the seventh to take the game away.
CMS will face Whittier College on the road this Friday, April 21 before hosting a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 11 am.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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