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April 7, 2012

Whittier completes series sweep of Occidental; Still in the hunt for playoffs

Photo by Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Whittier College baseball completed the series sweep of the Tigers of Occidental College winning game one in extras 4-3 and holding on late in game two 10-9.

Whittier now improves to 16-15, 10-11 SCIAC, while Occidental drops to 17-15.

Game 1 (W, 4-3)

The Poets used a furious comeback and extras to achieve the first win of the series after trailing 3-0 early.  Whittier mounted a comeback after Occidental put up three in the third touching up starting pitcher Taylor Fallon early as he went 7.0 innings giving up three runs on four hits to go with three strikeouts. 

The Purple & Gold mounted their comeback in the fourth behind senior Austin Straus who hit a shot to the opposite field that pulled the Poets within two.  After Fallon shut the Tigers down over the next four innings he saw Whittier add two in eighth to tie the game up at 3-3 to force extras. 

Behind a two out rally, Whittier's Straus lined a double down the right field line followed by a Pete Mitchell walk.  After a wild pitch advanced Straus and Mitchell up a bag freshman Cody Martinez walked to load the bases.  Josh Genzuk then stepped up to the plate and lined a single through the left side that drove in two helping Whittier force extras.

Whittier added the go ahead and eventual game winning run in the top half of the tenth when they got the bases loaded with two outs and again Whittier grabbed clutch hitting from Corey Jensen who singled to left field that drove in the go ahead run.            

In the eighth and ninth Austin Nogueira came in and shut down the Tiger offense going 2.0 innings striking out three giving way to Mike Rueda in the 10th who struck out two of the three batters he faced to earn his first save of the season.

Game 2 (W, 10-9)

In the second game Whittier jumped out in front 8-0 after three innings putting up two in the first, one in the second, and five in the third but saw Occidental mount a comeback midway through the fourth.

Cory Goodchild who has just returned from an injury is playing in his seventh game back and made the most of it putting the Poets on the scoreboard first after a shot to left that put Whittier in front 1-0.  He was then followed by back to back to back singles from Jensen, Straus, P. Mitchell that drove inth e second run of the inning. 

But Whittier didn't let up and add another run in the second behind Alex Mitchell who reached on a fielder's choice allowing Tyler Bogart to score from third.

But in the third Whittier continued to swing hot bats led by a three run jack from Andrew Vallejo who continues to swing a hot bat late in the season as he maintains his lead in SCIAC in batting average and hits.  He helped Whittier extend their lead to 8-0 but that lead would soon diminish as Occidental added two runs in the fourth, three runs in the sixth, two in the eighth and mounted a comeback in the ninth with two runs and had the game tying run 90 feet away with one out but were unable to drive in the run helping Whittier get away with the series sweep.

The Poets did however add insurance runs in the fifth and seventh thanks to Stephen Zavala who drove in both Whittier runs with a sacrifice fly and a single helping Whittier go ahead 10-6 after seven. 

Whittier's Casey Serna started his second contest of the season and earned his first win of the year after he went 5.2 innings giving up five runs on seven hits to go with four strikeouts.  His counterpart Malott was chased after 3.0 innings after he gave up eight runs on eight hits.            

The Poets still have a shot for playoffs and for the overall three seed in the SCIAC Post Season Tournament but they will have to win out in their final seven games.  Up next for Whittier are the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran who host the Poets this coming Friday, April 13 with game time slated to begin at 3:00pm.