ORANGE, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Baseball team led by Justin Hull's first complete game of the season earned a 2-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series against first-place Chapman Panthers on the road.
Hull (W, 6-1) earned his sixth victory of the season (career-high) after tossing 9.0 innings and allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts and four walks as the Stags stole Game 1 of a three-game series at the Panthers. It marked the first complete game of the season for Hull and fourth of his career.
With the win, CMS improves to 14-8-1 overall and 7-6 in the conference. CMS is fifth in the conference and has gone 7-3 over its last 10 games. Chapman falls to 11-5 in the SCIAC with the loss and has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season - both by one run. The Panthers entered the weekend ranked No. 8 in the DIII NCAA poll with a 21-6 record. The Stags return home to play a doubleheader tomorrow with two big games in this series remaining.
CMS broke open a scoreless game in the top of the fourth when Henri Levenson flew out to right field and Ryan Motter scored to give the Stags a 1-0 lead. Levenson finished 0-for-2 with one RBI for the game and Motter was the only player in the game to record more than one hit with a 2-for-4 performance and two runs scored.
Stags Junior starting pitcher, Hull did not allow a hit until the sixth inning with four strikeouts and two 1-2-3 innings along the way. Hull finished with 125 total pitches, 74 for strikes in his longest effort of the season.
Chapman recorded its first hit in the sixth and went on to score its only run in the same frame. Alex Tsuruda walked to open the inning and advance to second on a wild pitch. Later in the frame, after a sac bunt moved Tsuruda to third, Mack Chell singled to center and Tsuruda scored to momentarily break Hull's scoreless effort and tie the game 1-1.
The Stags were held to four hits between two of the three pitchers used by Chapman. Starter Jonathan Hernandez tossed 8.0 innings allowing one run on three hits with 10 strikeouts during his no-decision. Reliever Cody Turner (L, 3-1) was saddled with the loss after coming on in the 9th inning following a leadoff walk by Kevin Nakahara.
Turner then allowed Motter to reach with a single to left advancing Nakahara to second. Nakahara was picked off at that bag leaving just one runner on with one out. A wild pitch moved Motter to second and following a ground out by Patrick Gavin (0-for-4), Motter moved to third on another wild pitch. Levenson worked a walk to put runners at the corners and a third wild pitch scored Motter to give CMS 2-1 lead through 8 1/2 innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, Hull made his way back to the mound looking to secure his first complete game of the season and limit the Panthers offense like he had done all game. Hull got off to an ominous start as he hit Brad Shimabuku to begin the frame. Shimabuku was caught stealing by Truman Miller and Joe Jimenez and Jard Penniman flew out to end the game and secure a 2-1 victory.
The Stags have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games and continue to push for one of the top four seeds in the conference to grab a spot in the SCIAC Tournament at the end of the season. This marked the first time since April 14, 2017, that the Stags have defeated Chapman, as they came away victorious 6-5 at Arce Field against the Panthers on that day.
CMS Baseball is back in action tomorrow at Arce Field as Chapman comes to Claremont to face the Stags with the first pitch of the doubleheader scheduled for 11 a.m.