Ninth-Inning Rally Falls Short, CMS Baseball Drops 7-4 to Puget Sound

Sophomore first baseman Calvin Koo launched his second home run of the season in the 7-4 loss to Puget Sound on Sunday at Arce Field. (Photo by student photographer Daniel Addison)
Sophomore first baseman Calvin Koo launched his second home run of the season in the 7-4 loss to Puget Sound on Sunday at Arce Field. (Photo by student photographer Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team fell behind early and couldn't rally out of a five-run hole after plating two runs in the bottom of the ninth on a homer by Calvin Koo, falls to Puget Sound 7-4 on Sunday at Arce Field.

The Stags fall to 3-1 on the season with their first loss of the 2020 campaign. Puget Sound improves to 2-2 overall with the win after splitting their four-game Southern California road trip over the weekend. Henri Levenson finished 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI, Zach Clarke went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI, and Koo launched his second home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth to finish his day 1-for-4 with two RBI. First-year Jarrett Korson made his first start of his collegiate career and allowed one earned run (six runs in total) on eight hits over 5.0 innings with four strikeouts as he was saddled with the loss. 

Andrew Matsueda (W, 1-0) earned the win for the Loggers after coming on in relief of starter Matthew Hicks. Hicks allowed two earned runs over 3.0 innings-pitched with one walk and one strikeout. Matsueda did not allow a run over 3.0 innings of relief with one walk and no strikeouts in his first victory of the season. Corey Roberts led the Loggers with a 3-for-4 day, a run scored, and two RBI and Hunter Riley along with Dylan Joyce and Ryota Noshino drove in a run apiece. 

The Loggers tallied the first two runs of the game in the top of the first inning, Kyle Strash opened the game with a single to left and Riley earned a walk to put two runners on base. Mason Quinlan lifted out to center field moving both runners into scoring position for Roberts whose sacrifice fly to center allowed Strash to scamper home and an errant throw moved Riley to third. Joyce followed with a single to left field and Riley scored to push Puget Sound in front 2-0 through one inning. 

Puget Sound added a run in the second inning after another defensive miscue allowed Nishino to score and Makoa Mau to reach base. A pair of slip-ups defensively result in another run coming across for the Loggers in the top of the second and put them in front 3-0 through two innings. 

CMS responded in the bottom of the third when Andrew Shults worked a walk and a double to right-center field by Henri Levenson scored Schults to put the Stags on the scoreboard and cut the deficit to two, 3-1. Clarke followed with a double and Levenson scored easily cutting the Loggers' lead to just one run through three innings of play, 3-2. 

The bats fell silent for the Stags over the next five innings. CMS managed just two hits during that span despite some hard-hit balls placed right onto the solid fielders of Puget Sound. A handful of diving plays in the outfield by the Loggers kept CMS off the scoreboard while the deficit was built to four, 6-2. 

Puget Sound scored a run in the top of the ninth inning, pushing the advantage to 7-2 when Strash led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch, moved to second on a ground out and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Roberts then drove in Strash from third with a single to center field as the Loggers moved further in front 7-2 going to the bottom of the ninth. 

The Stags energy in the dugout did not waver as they put pressure on the visitor's pitching staff in the bottom of the ninth. Brandon Rho singled to center with one out in the inning and, following a flyout to center, Koo hit his second home run of the season, a two-run shot, to cut the deficit to three runs, 7-4. CMS put a runner on first with a walk to pinch-hitter Kevin Nakahara but a strikeout left him on base and ended the game with a 7-4 final. 

Sophomore reliever Nick Dazell delivered 4.0 impressive innings, tossing 48 pitches (29 strikes) and fanning five batters while allowing one walk and one run on just one hit. After all was said and done, the defensive miscues truly hurt the Stags as they suffer their first loss of the season and slip to 3-1 overall. 

CMS baseball has the weekend off next week and will be back in action as it starts conference play against Cal Lutheran on Fri., Feb, 21 at Arce Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. against the Kingsmen.