Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College baseball team used a four run 1st inning to take an early lead and held on late to preserve the 7-4 victory over the Stags of Claremont-M-S at Memorial Field to open the three game series.
The Poets now improve to 9-8, 5-5 SCIAC, while Claremont-M-S drops to 9-9, 5-5 SCIAC.
Ryan Schwenn pitched for the Poets and went 6.0 innings giving up two runs on nine hits, while Donny Young and Mike Rueda came in relief to shut down the Stags giving up a run a piece over the next three innings. Schwenn now improves to 2-2 on the season.
Whittier jumped all over Stag starter Ulrich with four runs in the first inning behind back to back to back singles from Andrew Vallejo, Phil Acosta, and Cory Goodchild. With the bases juiced Corey Jensen walked driving in the first run of the contest followed by a Nick Amicone single that went through the right side that drove in the second run.
With no outs and bases loaded, Pete Mitchell skied one to right that drove in Goodchild, while Josh Genzuk laid down a sacrifice bunt that acted a squeeze that drove in Jensen to push the score to 4-0.
In the top of the second the Stags pushed two runs across that cut the lead to two, but Schwenn put the Stag bats to sleep over the next four innings getting out of a mini jam in the 5th after the bases were loaded with one out. With one out he forced Wantanabe to line out to the left fielder where P. Mitchell made a diving catch in the alley that preserved the lead and then followed that up getting Erb to foul out to Austin Straus at first.
After escaping that inning unscathed, Whittier tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning after Alex Mitchell singled up the middle and then stole second to move into scoring position. After a wild pitch that advanced A. Mitchell to third, Vallejo walked that put runners on the corners. Goodchild then stepped up to the plate and hit a shot down the third baseline that was snagged by the third baseman but it ultimately led to another Poet run extending the lead to 5-2.
But the Poet bats weren't done there as they tacked on another two runs in the bottom half of the 7th. Whittier loaded the bases with no outs for the second time of the game forcing a new pitcher into the game for the Stags in Mayer. Freshman Cody Martinez stepped up to the plate as a lefty on righty and skied one to deep left that drove in a run and immediately following that Jensen sent one deep to center that drove in the second run of the inning, pushing the Poet lead to 7-2.
Claremont-M-S made one final push and put a run across in both the 8th and 9th but it wasn't enough as the Purple & Gold held on for the three run victory.
The Poets were led on offense by Vallejo who reached base four times finishing 2-3 with two runs and two walks, while A. Mitchell sparked the Poets on the base paths stealing two bases, while going 2-3 at the plate.
Whittier looks to build upon this opening win as they travel to Claremont, Calif. tomorrow, Saturday, March 10 to take on the Stags on day two of the series in a doubleheader with games slated for 11am and 2:30pm.