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Sophomore Brandon Rho drove in five runs during the doubleheader sweep over Lewis & Clarke, including the game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th of Game 2. (Photo by student photographer Daniel Addison)
Sophomore Brandon Rho drove in five runs during the doubleheader sweep over Lewis & Clarke, including the game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th of Game 2. (Photo by student photographer Daniel Addison)

Rho The Boat! CMS Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader over Lewis and Clark

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team swept a doubleheader over the Lewis & Clark Pioneers by the scores of 12-0 and 4-3 on Saturday at Arce Field.

The Stags improve to 3-0 on the season with the wins and could complete a perfect weekend with one more win tomorrow against Puget Sound. It is a big opening weekend for the CMS baseball team with four games in three days and the team has been impressive on both sides of the ball throughout strong performances during today's twin bill. Lewis & Clark falls to 0-3 with the losses after dropping three games to two SCIAC foes, La Verne and CMS in back-to-back days. 

Brandon Rho tallied four hits in two games including his first-career home run and five RBI during the doubleheader as well as two doubles and four runs scored. Rho's three RBI in Game 2 was a pivotal effort as he pushed the Stags in front with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to ultimately help secure the win. Rho and Mitchell spoke after the doubleheader sweep.

Game 1

The Stags came out swinging and scored one run in the bottom of the first inning when with two runners on base, Marco Castillo flew out to center field and scored Henri Levenson from third. Levenson walked with one out in the inning and advanced to third on a double by Zach Clarke, one of three hits for the senior shortstop in the game. The Stags left two runners on base and scored one run on one hit to grab a 1-0 lead through the first inning. 

The third inning began with a walk to Levenson and Clarke followed with a single and advanced to second on an errant throw moving Levenson to third. Patrick Gavin reached on an error by the third baseman but the runners stayed put to load the bases for Rho. Rho doubled to left field and Clarke followed Levenson home to put the Stags up 3-0 with one out in the inning. Carson Bridges worked a walk to load the bases again and William DeForest walked to score a run, followed by Andrew Shults with a walk to plate another in a four-run inning on just two hits. The Stags grabbed a 5-0 lead through three innings over Lewis & Clark. 

Four more runs came across in the fifth inning when DeForest drove in Rho with a single to left, Bridges scored on a wild pitch, Levenson doubled to right field and DeForest scored, and finally, Levenson touched home after a balk by Cristian Panaro pushing the lead to 9-0 through five innings. The Stags added two more runs in the sixth inning, first on a single to centerfield by Evan Kelly scoring Rho and second on a double to left field by DeForest to plate Miles Cook and extend the advantage to 11-0 through six innings. 

Cade Kritsch doubled to left field scoring Clarke in the bottom of the seventh and the Stags capped the scoring and won the game 12-0. Clarke finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored, DeForest went 3-for-4 with one double, one run scored, and three RBI. Diego Avila (W, 1-0) earned the win after completing 5.0 innings, allowing just three hits, one walk and fanning six batters to grab his first win of the season. 

Konnor Kwok, Spencer McCann, and Justin Esters combined to allow just one hit, no runs and surrendered two walks with two strikeouts in support of Avila. The Stags finished with 12 runs on 13 hits and allowed just four hits in the 12-run victory to move to 2-0 on the season. 

Game 2 

The second game was a much tighter matchup as the Stags held a 2-0 lead going into the eighth inning over Lewis & Clark. CMS once again got on the board in the second inning when Rho reached on a fielder's choice as Gavin was retired at second base but the Pioneers could not turn the double play and Castillo scored to put the Stags in front 1-0 through two innings. 

In the fourth inning, Rho once again had an effect on the game with his bat as he doubled to left field with two outs moving Gavin to third base. Gavin scored on a wild pitch and the Stags moved to 2-0 up on the Pioneers through four innings. Starter Brandon Mitchell was dominant through most of his outing, recording 14 strikeouts and holding the opposition to just two hits over 7.0 innings on the mound. Despite the fantastic effort, Mitchell would not receive a decision for the game. 

Lewis & Clark finally figured out Mitchell in the eighth inning when after a walk to Dustin Moore and a double to center field by Justin Katona, Mitchell would be removed from the game and Cameron Cash took his place on the mound. Both Moore and Katona scored tying the game 2-2 in the top of the eighth, but then Lewis & Clark grabbed the lead for the first time in two games as Jacob Serafini reached on an error with two outs and Katona scored on the throwing miscue by the Stags pushing the Pioneers up by a run, 3-2, going to the bottom of the eighth.

CMS responded with two outs following a Gavin walk, Rho launched a fastball over the right-field fence for a two-run home run, his first with the Stags and first of the season pushing CMS back in front 4-3. Nico Mannucci (Sv, 1) came on with a chance to close it out and did just that, leaving two runners on base with a ground out by Sam Helms to shortstop and clinching his first save of the season and the doubleheader sweep by the one-run final score. 

Cash earned the win, his first of the season after fanning two batters, allowing one run on one hit during his inning of work. The 14 strikeouts marked a career-high for Mitchell after a dominant performance that resulted in a tough-luck no-decision. 

The Stags will be back in action tomorrow as they face Puget Sound for one game with the first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m. at Arce Field.