Photo by Nhi Casey
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (Mar. 5, 2016) – Sophomore Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) maintained his perfect season-opening on-base streak, reaching safely in his 11th straight game, as Caltech baseball took on Cal Lutheran University in a SCIAC series this past weekend.
Caltech 3, Cal Lutheran 9
CLU scratched out a run in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly that plated a leadoff walk. The Kingsmen scored two more on a bloop single that took an unfortunate bounce, skying over the head of senior Daniel Chou (Blue Bell, Pa. / Wissahickon) and running all the way to the wall in center.
The Beavers responded immediately, loading the bases with none out and scoring their first on a fielder's choice off Chou's bat. McCarren plated another on a sacrifice bunt and freshman Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) smacked a single up the middle to bring Chou home from second base to tie the game.
A leadoff double and another sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth allowed CLU to regain the lead. Caltech put men on first and second with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, but a double play erased the danger. Sophomore Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Acad.) smashed a ground-rule double in the bottom of the sixth, but it came with two outs and he was stranded on a sharp lineout to second base.
Junior Kai Kirk (San Jose, Calif. / Wesleyan Univ.) created some trouble for himself in the top of the seventh, loading the bases on a walk, hit-batter and bunt single, but instantly rose to the occasion and came up with back-to-back swinging strikeouts. He then got ahead on the next batter, but soon found himself facing a full count and a breaking ball got away from him, plunking the batter and bringing a run home. An untimely single followed to score two more before a flyout to centerfield limited the damage to three runs.
CLU tacked on another run in the eighth before Caltech made one final push in the bottom of the inning. McCarren slapped a leadoff single down the left field line and advanced to third base on an error, with Moffatt joining him at second. A pitching change put an end to the Beavers' hopes, however, as the reliever punched out the next two batters and a fly out to right field ended the inning. Another Kingsmen run scored in the ninth for the final margin.
Caltech 3, Cal Lutheran 15
Caltech shot out of the gates to start the Saturday doubleheader, scoring three runs in the first inning. One-out singles by McCarren, Moffatt and freshman Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro) quickly loaded the bases for freshman Tucker Reese (Kennett Square, Pa. / Unionville), who brought one run home on an RBI singles. A fielder's choice groundout by Levine plated another and the sophomore forced an errant throw from the catcher as he stole second, allowing Burleson to come around for the score.
CLU bounced right back with two runs via a leadoff double and error, but Caltech maintained a one-run edge. Kingsmen pitcher Evan Peterson retired the next 12 straight Beavers over four perfect frames, while Levine did all he could to hold back the tide in the bottom half of innings. CLU put a runner in scoring position in the third, but Levine coaxed a pair of groundouts to keep him from becoming the tying run. Another runner reached base on an error in the fourth, but Burleson gunned him down to keep another clean frame.
The Kingsmen finally exploded in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs on three extra-base hits, including a solo shot to cap it, and posted another eight in the sixth to shorten the game after seven innings.
Caltech 5, Cal Lutheran 15
Although CLU's bats stayed hot in the nightcap, Levine gave the Beavers a major highlight in the top of the second inning as he blasted Caltech's first home run in over a year, joining sophomore David Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor) as the only active Beavers to have recorded a round-tripper. The two-run shot gave Caltech a brief lead, but CLU tied the game in the second and regained the edge in the third.
The Kingsmen tacked on five more runs between the fourth and fifth innings before the Beavers' final surge in the top of the sixth. Junior Harrison Jacobs (Tucson, Ariz. / Catalina Foothills) and Chou drew walks immediately after a pitching change and McCarren singled to load the bases with no outs. Moffatt brought Jacobs home with a single to right field and, following a double play that caught Chou at home, Reese smashed a two-RBI double down the left field line to push Moffatt and McCarren home. Caltech also put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, but another double play ball ended the visitors' chances as CLU scored six more in the sixth and seventh and walked off in the eighth.
Reese led the Beavers at the plate in the series, going 5-for-8 with a double, three RBI and one run. Moffatt, McCarren and Jacobs each hit .333 and combined for four walks, five runs and three RBI.
Head Coach Matthew Mark and the Beavers will take a break from competition for the next two weeks before heading to Tucson, Ariz., where they will play a pair of doubleheaders against Augsburg College (1-2) and Macalester College (0-0) on Friday and Saturday, Mar. 18-19.