Justin Hull Tosses Second Straight Complete Game, CMS Baseball Holds Off Pomona-Pitzer 2-1

Junior Justin Hull delivered his second straight complete game as the Stags won the opener against Pomona-Pitzer 2-1
Junior Justin Hull delivered his second straight complete game as the Stags won the opener against Pomona-Pitzer 2-1

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team received a complete game effort from starter Justin Hull, who held off a ninth-inning charge from Pomona-Pitzer to defeat the Sagehens 2-1 on Friday at Bill Arce Field.

CMS improves to 15-10-1 overall and 8-8 in the SCIAC with the victory. The Stags remain in fifth place in the conference and 2.0 games out of fourth trailing Cal Lutheran which is 10-6 and tied with La Verne in the top four. Pomona-Pitzer continues to struggle, losing its second in a row and dropping to 5-14 in the SCIAC and 15-15 overall. 

Justin Hull (W, 7-1) earned his seventh win of the season after tossing 9.0 innings and allowing one run (unearned) on six hits with seven strikeouts. The seven strikeout mark fell one shy of tying his season-high eight that he set on opening day against Lewis & Clark and matched on Feb. 16 at Occidental. He delivered his second straight complete game after holding Chapman to one run on three hits over 9.0 innings in a 2-1 win a week ago to mark his fifth-career complete game and second this season. 

Today, the junior right-hander was dealing allowing four hits through eight innings and holding the Sagehens offense off the board until the ninth. Hull had four strikeouts through four innings and kept Pomona-Pitzer off balance for most of his outing. 

The Stags had a couple of bumps defensively as they committed two errors. The first error happened in the second inning but was not a factor as Hull induced a double-play from Jake Patterson-Kohout on a fielding effort by Hull to turn it on to shortstop Zach Clarke who then threw on to Marco Castillo to quell the threat. A fielder's choice ended the second inning and the game remained scoreless. 

CMS finally broke through in the bottom of the third. Truman Miller opened the inning with a double to left field and Kevin Nakahara grounded out to second base advancing Miller to third. Ryan Motter lifted a fly ball to deep center field and Miller tagged and scored on the sacrifice fly to give the home team a 1-0 lead through three innings. 

Sagehen's starter Joe Williams (L, 0-3) got the tough-luck loss after showing off some nice off-speed stuff and holding the Stags to two runs on six hits with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings. 

In the bottom of the sixth, the Stags struck again, with one out Marco Castillo was hit by a pitch and Carson Bridges singled to center field but heads-up baserunning moved Castillo to third and Bridges aggressively took second base on the throw putting two runners in scoring position. 

With Miller batting, Williams balked advancing both runners and scoring Castillo to extend the Stags lead to 2-0 through six innings. 

The Sagehens provided little threat offensive against Hull during the seventh and eighth innings. Hull issued a two-out walk to Patterson in the top of the seventh but a fielder's choice by Clarke to shuttle the ball over the Patrick Gavin at the bag retired the side and kept the scoreless performance in-tact through seven. 

In the eighth, Hull allowed one hit and a two-out infield single but a fly out by Seth Stone to second base stranded a runner on and kept the run column on the scoreboard empty for the Sagehens in the eighth. Prior to the single in the eighth, Hull had retired six of the last seven batters he faced going back to the sixth inning. 

The ninth inning got a little dicey for the Stags, as Jack Damelio reached on an error and advanced to second on a single by Jeremy Jess, his second hit of the game. Nolan McCafferty lined out to Gavin at second and Patterson struck out swinging as the Sagehens threat was waning with two outs on the board. 

Hull was determined to finish his outing and complete his second straight game after locking down the No. 9 Chapman Panthers on the road a week ago. Jeremiah Quezada singled to left field to drive home the lead runner Damelio and move the pinch runner Tyler Yoshihara to second base with two down. 

Despite the close finish, Hull was able to close out a victory with a fielder's choice from Hanley as Motter picked up a three-hopper and tagged the bag at third to force out Yoshihara and send the Stags to a 2-1 victory. 

CMS was limited to six hits, with no Stag recording more than one hit in the game. Motter recorded the only RBI on a sac fly. Nakahara and Miller doubled for their only hits of the game, also, the Stags six through nine hitters each recorded a hit; CJ Novogradac went 1-for-3 with a walk, Castillo finished 1-for-3 with one run scored, and Bridges went 1-for-3. 

CMS baseball continues to surge at the right time and looks to take momentum into tomorrow's doubleheader at Pomona-Pitzer. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m as the Stags will attempt to take a series from the Sagehens and continue to climb the SCIAC standings.