Stags Fall Just Short in Extra-Inning Battle with Pomona-Pitzer

Ryan Motter (CMC) scores on a wild pitch to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. (photo credit: Alisha Alexander)
Ryan Motter (CMC) scores on a wild pitch to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. (photo credit: Alisha Alexander)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – On Friday afternoon, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team fought hard into extra innings before falling to rival Pomona-Pitzer 6-5 in 10 innings. The Stags answered two early Pomona-Pitzer runs with three runs of their own to take a 3-2 lead in the third. CMS added to their lead with an RBI single by CJ Novogradac (CMC) in the bottom of the fifth, but the Sagehens scored three across the seventh and eighth innings to take a 5-4 lead.

CMS scratched a run across in the bottom of the ninth without the aid of a hit, thanks to a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base, an error, and a wild pitch to score Ryan Motter (CMC) and force extra innings. The Stags gifted a scoring opportunity to the Sagehens in the 10th inning with a two-base throwing error on a pick-off attempt at first. With a runner on third, Hunter Hennigh hit a sacrifice fly to center field to give Pomona-Pitzer the 6-5 lead.

The Stags were unable to score in the bottom of the frame and dropped the first game in the three-game series by a 6-5 final score.

It looked like CMS was going to strike first after collecting a base hit in each of the first two innings. Henri Levenson (CMC) led off the game with a single, but the runner was cut down on a double-play ball to end the inning. In the second, Novogradac ripped a one-out double, but was stranded on the bases after a groundout and a strikeout.

After being held without a baserunner in the first two innings, Pomona-Pitzer got on the board in the top of the third with four hits, plating a pair of runs. CMS starter, Cameron Cash (CMC), wiggled out of further damage with a groundout to strand a pair of runners.

CMS immediately responded with a three-run bottom of the third, but only collected one hit in the frame. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases and a wild pitch brought the first run of the inning home. After a strikeout, Trey Smith (CMC) went shopping at the gap with a two-out double to left-center to plate Kevin Nakahara (HMC) and Levenson.

In the fifth, CMS added a run with a two-out rally. Smith got things going by top-spinning a double down the left-field line for his second two-bagger of the afternoon. Novogradac then tucked a looping single inside the right-field line to score Smith and give CMS a 4-2 lead.

After a scoreless sixth, Pomona-Pitzer scored a single run in the top of the seventh with a two-out, RBI single by Brian Knapp to pull within one at 4-3. In the eighth, the Sagehens took the lead with two unearned runs. The first run scored on a throwing error and the second on another RBI single by Knapp. On the day, Knapp finished 3-6 with three runs batted in.

CMS could not get a run across in the bottom of the eighth, stranding a one-out double by CJ Novogradac, but in the ninth they scored without the use of a hit. Ryan Motter led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. He then swiped second with Alex Clemens (CMC) at the dish and, on the same play, advanced to third when the catcher's throw careened into center field. Two pitches later, Motter scampered home on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5-5.

Clemens would later walk, but the Stags were unable to push across the winning run and the game went to extra innings. In extras, the Sagehens scored a run with a sacrifice fly after a throwing error allowed a leadoff hit-by-pitch to advance to third with one-out.

Trey Smith led off the bottom of the 10th with a single, but he was cut down on a batter's interference play that halted any hope of a CMS comeback. A groundout to short ended the game and the Sagehens earned a 6-5 victory in the first game of the three-game series.

CMS and Pomona-Pitzer will wrap up their series tomorrow morning when they play a doubleheader across the street at Alumni Field on Pomona's campus.