CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team (1-3) faced Whitman College (3-1) in a four game series over the weekend to open the 2017 season for both teams. The Stags began the series by battling back to eventually win 7-6 in the 10th inning. In the three subsequent games, CMS put up runs but were unable to sustain leads as the Blues won 6-2, 10-6, and 8-4. This is the first time since 2006 that the Stags have won their first game of the season.
Senior captain Sam Baughman (CMC) got the rock for the first game and threw five effective innings for CMS. He held Whitman hitless for the first two innings while the Stags got to work and put up two runs on the board.
In his first collegiate at bat, freshman Kevin Nakahara (HMC) lined a double out to center field and then advanced to third on a passed ball. He was ultimately stranded on the bases, but the Stags' aggressiveness would soon pay off.
Another double started off the bottom of the second, this time by junior Chase Eller (CMC). He was followed up by an RBI triple from freshman Emmett Covello (CMC). Junior Alex Clemens (CMC) scored Covello with a sacrifice fly to left as the Stags took the early 2-0 lead.
Whitman notched one in the top of the third before CMS tacked on two more in the bottom of the frame with the same heroes from the previous inning. Eller earned a two-out walk and Covello smashed a towering homer. After two collegiate at bats, Covello's slugging percentage was over 3.000.
The Blues' pitcher Nick Johnson buckled down and held the Stags scoreless for the remaining three innings of his outing as Whitman scored one in the seventh and then went ahead in the eighth. The Blues manufactured the runs off singles by Lucas Thrun, Alec Rainsfield, and Brett Williams.
In the bottom of the ninth, CMS took advantage of a handful of Whitman errors to tie up the game and force a tenth inning. Junior John O'Malley (CMC) took the mound and struck out two hitters in the top of the 10th, but an untimely error allowed one run to cross.
An old adage came true in the bottom of the frame as the leadoff walk came around to score. Clemens walked and then was scored by a single and costly outfield error. Freshman Henri Levenson (CMC) tallied his first career hit as a Stag with a walk-off RBI single to win the game.
The Blues punched back in the second game of the day that was shortened to seven innings due to darkness. Rookie Brandon Louie (CMC) got the start in game two and went five complete innings. After giving up three runs early in the game, he settled down to pitch three shutdown innings before being relieved by sophomore Daniel Enzminger (CMC).
The Stags' rally late in the game was cut short by the descending sun. In the bottom of the seventh, Jack Savard (CMC), Pat Shore (CMC) and Nakahara hit consecutive singles to get the Stags on the board. Levenson earned the second RBI in the inning as Shore scored. Unfortunately for CMS, when the final out was recorded, senior Evan Opperman (CMC) was stranded in scoring position after a gap double.
The Stags wrapped up the first day of the season with a split with the Whitman Blues winning 7-6 and then dropping the nightcap, 6-2.
CMS returned to action early on Sunday morning in order to get both games in before Whitman needed to catch a plane back to Washington.
Whitman proved to be the more prolific team on day two, out-scoring the Stags 18-10 over both games.
In the third game of the series, CMS put up at least one run in five of nine innings. Sophomore Nick DeGallier (CMC) led the Stags from the plate. In his first at bat, he scored Eller, who had reach on a Blues error, to give CMS their first lead of the game. After Whitman scratched one in the top of the third, the Stags answered back in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
Levenson drew a bases loaded walk for an RBI in the fourth and then Covello added his fourth RBI of the weekend to score Opperman from second in the fifth innings. Eller smacked his first double of the game to plate the speedy Levenson from first base.
In the meantime, Whitman had put eight men across, including seven in the fifth and sixth innings combined, to take the 8-4 lead.
Each team caught fire in the eighth and put up two runs. Savard got on with a one-out single up with middle and then advanced around the diamond on a wild pitch and passed ball. Levenson hit Savard in with a single to right and then Eller tried to turn his second double of the game into a triple, but the precisely executed relay by Whitman nabbed him at third base. Nevertheless, Levenson scored for CMS' sixth run of the game.
DeGallier tried to rally the Stags in the bottom of the ninth but they ultimately fell 10-6 to the Blues.
In the final game of the series DeGallier was 3-for-4, earning a third of the team's nine hits. Additionally, Opperman hit his first career home run in the bottom of the third.
Eller hit his fourth double of the weekend and then was joined by sophomore Deji Andrew (HMC) and Clemens, each with a double of their own.
In the game, Whitman scored early and often for the eventual 8-4 victory over CMS.
The Stags jump right into conference play with a three-game series against Caltech this upcoming weekend. The Friday single will be played in Pasadena, Calif. and then CMS will return to Arce Field on Saturday, Feb. 18 for a double header with the Beavers, starting at 11 a.m.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
CMS Email Updates
CMS Athletics on Facebook: AthleticsCMS
CMS Athletics on Twitter: AthleticsCMS
CMS Athletics on Instagram: cmsathletics
CMS Athletics YouTube: ClaremontMuddScripps