Photo by Nhi Casey
PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2015) – A quartet of Beavers recorded four hits apiece over the Caltech baseball team's season-opening doubleheader vs. St. Katherine College on Saturday afternoon. The Beavers staged a late rally that ultimately fell short in Game One, 4-3, and were unable to hold a three-run lead in the final inning of Game Two, falling in eight, 12-9.
Game 1: St. Katherine 4, Caltech 3
St. Katherine jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and tacked on another three in the top of the third, although Caltech recorded a pair of outs at home plate in the inning, including a double play on a relay throw from junior centerfielder Daniel Chou (Blue Bell, Pa. / Wissahickon) via senior Derek Kearney (Carlsbad, Calif. / La Costa Canyon). On the offensive side, freshman David Watson (Fort Collins, Colo. / Windsor) opened his promising career with a leadoff double that rolled up to the wall in left center in the bottom of the second inning, but was caught trying to advance to third in the next at-bat. Chou got the job done at the plate in the bottom of the frame too, bringing in a run with one out to force a pitching change.
On the mound, Kearney settled down to retire the Firebirds in order – all via groundout – in the top of the fourth and did it again in the fifth. The veteran surrendered only a single in the sixth to allow the Beavers to stage a rally, which they finally did in the bottom of the frame. Freshman Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Acad.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and came right around to score on a severe misplay by the left fielder tracking a single by sophomore Harrison Jacobs (Tucson, Ariz. / Catalina Foothills), although the sophomore was tagged out trying to advance further. Freshman Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) singled home another run to cut the deficit to one with two outs, but a popup ended the inning and the Beavers could not get anything going in the seventh.
Game 2: St. Katherine 12, Caltech 9 (8 inn.)
The Firebirds again started hot, pushing across two quick runs in the top of the first inning via a pair of errors. The Beavers wasted no time in this one, however, as Watson tripled to deep centerfield and Levine singled him home for a couple of two-out RBI hits, tying the game.
St. Katherine picked up two more runs on a two-out double in the next inning, but Caltech got one back in the bottom of the frame as sophomore John Galden (Columbus, Ohio / St. Charles Prep) doubled in senior Ryan Casey (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) after his leadoff single to shallow center. McCarren later layed down a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third with just one out, but a popup and groundout ended the Beavers' prospects in the second.
A two-out triple took the Firebirds back ahead by two, but Caltech matched as Levine drove in Watson again and, after another St. Katherine run via error in the fourth, Watson brought McCarren home to keep it a one-run game.
With Chou relieving Levine in the fourth, the junior promptly faced the minimum in the fifth innings to give his offense a chance to tie. The Beavers did more than that, despite the first two batters recording outs. Sophomore Schaeffer Reed (Miami, Fla. / Westminster Christian) sparked the rally with a single and stolen base, then came around to score on a single by McCarren to tie the game. Chou later walked to load the bases, and three runs went on to score thanks to a wild pitch and error.
Chou held the Firebirds in check in the top of the sixth and got the first two outs in the seventh, but fortune smiled on St. Katherine as an error allowed one run to score and extended the inning, which led to the tying run two batters later.
Chou made up for the damage with a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, but the Beavers could not bring him home and St. Katherine would go on to score three more in the top of the eighth, while Caltech was unable to muster anything in the bottom.
McCarren, Casey, Watson and sophomore Tim Menninger (Norristown, Pa. / Chestnut Hill Acad.) each recorded four hits over the doubleheader, with McCarren leading the way with a .571 average and Watson slugging a robust .778. Reed swiped a pair of bases in as many attempts, while Levine was also successful in his only stolen base bid. Kearney struck out three in Game One while Chou allowed just two earned runs over his five innings pitched.
Head Coach Matthew Mark and the Beavers will take two weeks to prepare for their SCIAC-opening series with the University of La Verne, with Game One on the road Friday, Feb. 13.