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Julian Sanders set a new CMS record with 14 homers
Julian Sanders set a new CMS record with 14 homers

Comeback Falls Short as CMS Baseball Drops 12-8 Decision to La Verne in SCIAC Tournament

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Julian Sanders set a CMS record with his 14th home run, a three-run shot to help the Stags close a 12-3 deficit to four and bring the tying run to the plate, but La Verne was able to finish off the 12-8 win in an elimination game to move on to Saturday's play in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.

With the loss, CMS falls to 28-11 overall and will await a possible NCAA Tournament bid when selections are announced on Monday. The Stags came into the weekend ranked second in the West Region behind East Texas Baptist. 

Sanders hit his three-run shot in the sixth to close the gap to 12-6, and the Stags tacked on two more runs in the seventh on a Mitchell Mashiko RBI double and a Jack Potter RBI groundout. After Sanders walked, CMS had the bases loaded in the seventh and had the tying run at the plate, but first-team All-SCIAC reliever Benny Vogel came out of the bullpen for a big strikeout to get the Leopards out of the jam. 

Vogel then retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth to pick up the save and send La Verne through to Saturday, when they will play Chapman for the right to play Cal Lutheran in the championship round. 

The Stags trailed 4-0 after the first inning, but got two of them back on a two-run double from Paul Roche in the second. A grand slam from Logan Reese in the fourth was the big blow of the game, putting the Leopards ahead 10-2 and making the comeback effort extremely difficult, although the Stags were able to make a run at it before coming up short. 

Sanders' 14th home run broke the old record of 13, which was set by Tyler Laughery in 1997 and stood for 26 years. He ended the game 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Roche was 2-for-5 with two RBI.

CMS will hope to continue its season in the NCAAs after qualifying for the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the first time since the tournament began in 2013.