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Sophomore Marco Castillo hit his first home run of the season (Photo by Daniel Addison)
Sophomore Marco Castillo hit his first home run of the season (Photo by Daniel Addison)

CMS Baseball Can't Hold off Cal Lutheran in Road Doubleheader

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps baseball team dropped the first game of today's doubleheader 8-7 at Cal Lutheran and then finished with a 12-11 loss in 10 innings following a remake of the game on Sun., Mar. 1 at Ullman Stadium.

The Stags slip to 3-4 overall with the losses and Cal Lutheran moves to 10-0 with the doubleheader sweep. Marco Castillo, Brandon Rho, and Zach Clarke each drove in two runs apiece in the doubleheader. Rho recorded three hits in Game 1 including a double and two RBI. Castillo hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the third inning of the first game.

The pitching staff struggled despite the dynamic offense as each starter gave up more than four earned runs and the bullpen allowed seven runs combined between the two games. Diego Avila made his second start of the season and did not earn a decision after allowing four earned runs (five total runs) over 4.1 innings with three strikeouts and three walks in the 8-7 loss in the first game of the day.

Both teams started off the game on the right foot offensively as CMS opened with two runs in the top of the first. Kevin Nakahara singled to center field, followed by a single to right from Henri Levenson advancing Nakahara to second. Castillo followed with a ground out to second base to move the runners into scoring position. Rho singled to center and Levenson scored to plate the second run of the inning and give the Stags a 2-0 lead through the visitor's first. 

Cal Lutheran responded quickly in the home half of the frame. Tanner Wright opened the inning with a single to center field, Austin Carillo singled toward the gap in left-center moving Wright all the way to third base. Ryne Yamashiro lifted a fly ball to right and Wright tagged and scored cutting the Stags advantage to one run. The next batter, Daniel Parr, grounded out to the Clarke allowing Carillo to come home and tie the game 2-2 through one inning. The teams combined for five hits and four runs in the first frame and that was a sign of things to come on the day. 

The Stags grabbed back the lead and scored two runs in the top of the third and one run in the top of the fourth to push ahead 5-2 through four innings. In the third, with two outs, Castillo launched a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence and gave the Stags a 3-2 lead. Patrick Gavin singled to left and Rho walked putting two runners on base for Calvin Koo. Koo doubled down the line in left field and Gavin scored to extend the lead to 4-2 through three innings. 

CMS scored another run in the top of the fourth and stretched its advantage to 5-2. Following a walk to Nakahara and a wild pitch that moved him to second base, Levenson singled through the right side and Nakahara scored from second. Avila tossed two straight innings with zeros on the scoreboard in the second and third inning, allowing just one hit during that time.

The lead evaporated in the fifth inning when Cal Lutheran scored four runs on two hits and three errors to grab a 6-5 lead. Harrison Dunkel reached with a bunt single to lead off the frame, Wright worked a walk putting runners at first and second. Wright went from first to third on a throwing error and Dunkel scored on that error to bring the first of four runs across in the inning. Carillo walked and Ryan Probst flied out to left field allowing Wright to tag and score for the second run of the bottom of the 5th. 

Konnor Kwok replaced Avila out of the bullpen and issued a walk to Yamashiro, the first batter he faced in relief. Carillo moved up a base on an error and eventually scored on another miscue. Through five innings the Stags trailed 6-5. The Kingsmen and Stags traded runs in the seventh with CMS pushing across a run on a double to right-center by Rho and Cal Lutheran answering with two runs in the bottom of the inning to extend its lead to two runs, 8-6. 

The Stags scored a run in the top of the ninth and had the tying run on second base in the form of pinch-runner Carson Bridges but they could not bring him home and fell 8-7. CMS slipped to 3-3 overall and dropped its first SCIAC series of the season with the one-run loss. 

In Game 2, the Stags found themselves down 2-0 going to the fourth inning when the offense exploded with eight runs to grab an 8-2 lead. Clarke opened the fourth with a double to right-center, Castillo followed with a double of his own to score Clarke. Gavin singled and Castillo scored from second and then the defense let the Kingsmen down as they committed four errors in the inning allowing four unearned runs to come across. Evan Kelly reached first on one of those errors and Gavin scored on the play.

Truman Miller made it to first on an error by the shortstop and Rho scored on the play. Levenson found his way to first on another fielding miscue by the Kingsmen and Miller along with Kelly scored on the misstep and Clarke capped the explosive inning with a double to right-center driving in Nakahara. For the game, just four of the 10 runs scored by the Stags were earned and came in part on eight hits by the club for the game while Cal Lutheran finished with four errors. 

Cal Lutheran responded with an offense of its own in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the Stags lead to four runs by scoring two more runs both on a two-run home run by Zach Bullard which scored Parr and cut the Stags lead to 8-4 through four innings. 

CMS added two runs in the top of the fifth inning and stretched its lead to 10-4 but Cal Lutheran would not go away answering with a pair of runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. Rho scored on a wild pitch and Nakahara grounded out to second to score Kelly for the two runs for CMS and Daniel Stauffer scored on a wild pitch and Probst lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Wright for the pair of runs for the Kingsmen and through five innings CMS led 10-6. 

The score held until the bottom of the 8th when Cal Lutheran rallied to tie the game with four runs on one hit and one error knotting the game up 10-10. Joseph Scalzo worked a bases-loaded walk scoring Yamashiro, Bullard scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded, and Wright once again came through for the Kingsmen with a single to left field to drive in two runs and tie the game. 

The game was called due to darkness after the bottom of the eighth and finished with a 10-10 tie. The Stags and Kingsmen went back to Ullman Stadium and finished the 10-10 tie which resulted in an 12-11 victory for Cal Lutheran in 10 innings on Sunday, Mar. 1. 

Clarke drove in two runs with two hits during his five at-bats and Castillo along with Nakahara and Gavin drove in a run apiece in the tie. Brandon Mitchell did not earn a decision but he struck out five batters over 5.0 innings from the starting position as four CMS pitchers combined to strike out 10 batters. 

The CMS baseball team will be back in action next weekend as it travels to Redlands on Friday, Feb. 28 for one game at 2:30 p.m. and then welcomes the Bulldogs to Arce Field for a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 29  at 11 a.m.