CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team could not have asked for a better ending to its final home game of the regular season. Junior Chase Eller (CMC) smacked a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to put the Stags (15-19, 9-12) past Cal Lutheran 5-4. The SCIAC-leading Kingsmen (26-9, 16-5) came into the series ready to spoil the Stags' senior day festivities, but a complete-game performance from senior Sam Baughman (CMC) on the mound and a game-winning hit from Eller provided the fans at Arce Field plenty of memorable dramatics.
Seniors Evan Opperman (CMC), Austin Schoff (CMC), and Baughman were honored before the opening pitch for their contributions to the baseball program. Baughman pitched to his sixth win of the season, striking out four batters, while Opperman went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Sophomore CJ Novogradac (CMC) had the hot bat for the Stags, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
The Stags wasted to no time getting on board against the Kingsmen's ace, Nate Wehner, as Novogradac looped a single to right field to score Eller from third base. However, Cal Lutheran responded in the top of the third when Max Weinstein drilled a two-run homerun to left center to give the Kingsmen the narrow lead. Later in the same inning, Gabe Gunter capitalized with a runner on second with a double to deep right center to put Cal Lutheran ahead, 3-1.
Novogradac refused to let the tough inning get to the team, once again put CMS back in the game. In the bottom of the third inning with two outs and runners on first and third, the sophomore smacked a double to deep left center to clear the bases and tie the game.
The Kingsmen regained the lead in the top of the sixth when Trey Saito lined an RBI single to center field; however, Baughman kicked his game up to the next gear and escaped a bases loaded jam, limiting the damage. Baughman and the Stags' defense looked in control late in the game, as the pitcher denied the Kingsmen clean hits and led them to easy grounders and fly outs.
CMS managed to tie the game when Eller scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the ninth, the Stags quickly went for the finish. Junior Alex Clemens (CMC) hit a sharp single to second base that was difficult to handle and advanced to second after freshman Ryan Motter (CMC) laid down a sacrifice bunt. On a 2-1 count, Eller ripped a line drive to left field to bring Clemens home to win the game.
The Stags will head up to Thousand Oaks to finish their series against Cal Lutheran tomorrow at 11 a.m. for a doubleheader. The series will conclude the 2017 regular season for CMS baseball.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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