Stags Start SCIAC Play with Victory Over Caltech

photo credit: Alisha Alexander
photo credit: Alisha Alexander

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team opened the SCIAC Season with an 11-5 victory over the Caltech Beavers on Friday afternoon. Caltech took a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third, but CMS scored the next nine runs to take a 9-2 advantage. Things got a little dicey as the Beavers scored three times in the top of the seventh, but the Stags held on and escaped further damage.

Kevin Nakahara (HMC) went 4-5 at the dish and scored three runs to lead the Stags' offense. Trey Smith (CMC), CJ Novogradac (CMC), and Henri Levenson (CMC) each drove home multiple runs in the victory.

Cameron Cash (CMC) earned the win on the hill, going six innings and allowing five runs (four earned) and five hits while striking out eight. Danny Porras (CMC) came on in relief and earned his first career save pitching 1.1 innings.

As mentioned, the Beavers were the first to dent the scoreboard with a two-out, seeing eye single that made it to the outfield grass in the top of the first. The Beavers doubled their lead in the top of the third after the Stags were unable to take advantage of dangerous opportunities in the first two frames.

In the middle of the third, CMS trailed 2-0, but after the first three batters reached, thanks to a pair of walks and a single, the Stags had the bases loaded with no outs. A strike out put the first out on the board, but CJ Novogradac laced the first pitch he saw into left field to score Ryan Motter (CMC) and Kevin Nakahara to tie the game at 2-2. Two batters later, the Stags added one more with an RBI single by Patrick Gavin (CMC) to take a 3-2 lead.

With two outs in the fourth, Motter singled through the left side and stole second to give Nakahara an RBI opportunity. The Stags' left fielder took advantage of the chance and sent ripped the ball right back up the middle to give CMS a 4-2 lead.

Cash turned the Beavers away in order in the top of the fifth, thanks to a ground out and a pair of strikeouts before the Stags' offense got back to work. CMS added four runs in the bottom of the fifth on just one hit. The base knock was a big one, with Levenson delivering a two-run, ground-rule double. With the bases loaded, by virtue of a hit by pitch and two walks, Levenson sent a towering fly ball to right that bounced off the warning track and over the fence. The extra-base hit plated two runs and gave CMS a 6-2 advantage. Two wild pitches later, the Stags held an 8-2 lead heading to the sixth.

Trey Smith missed a home run by just a few feet to straight-away center field, but the fly ball was plenty deep to score Nakahara from third and the Stags put another run on the board in the sixth.

With CMS leading 9-2, the Beavers started to come back in the top of the seventh. It took three CMS pitchers to turn Caltech away in the inning. The Beavers plated three runs on four hits and were threatening for more, but reliever, John O'Malley (CMC) got a ground ball to Motter at third who stepped on the bag and fired to first for the inning-ending double-play. The Stags got out of the frame with a 9-5 lead, but after a one-two-three bottom half of the seventh, the Beavers were back on the attack in the top of the eighth.

With two on and two out, Danny Porras was called on to get the last out of the eighth. Porras did his job and pounded the zone, getting a weak ground out to second base.

The Stags added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth with an RBI double from Trey Smith and a sacrifice fly from Levenson to give CMS the 11-5 lead.

Porras turned away the Beavers in order in the ninth to give CMS their first SCIAC victory of the season. With the win, CMS improves to 5-3 overall and starts the year 1-0 in the SCIAC. The Stags and Beavers are back at it tomorrow morning when CMS travels to Caltech for a doubleheader that is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m.