April 27, 2012

Sagehens Hold Off Redlands, But Will Settle For Second In SCIAC

Claremont, Calif. - Freshman Jake Bruml (San Mateo, Calif.) threw eight shutout innings to improve to 7-0 this season on the mound, and also added a solo homer at the plate, as the Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team defeated Redlands 5-4 in its home finale on Friday afternoon.

However, La Verne defeated Whittier 3-0, which means that Pomona-Pitzer (24-12-1, 18-9 SCIAC) is officially eliminated from the SCIAC title race, as the Leopards clinch first place by improving to 20-7 with one game left. The Sagehens were in the middle of the pack a few weeks ago, but has won 12 of its last 14 games to surge into second place in the conference standings.

(pictured: freshman shortstop Sam Fox slides in with what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the seventh)

Bruml had his most dominant outing of the year, as he allowed only three hits in the first eight innings and took a 5-0 lead into the ninth. Chase Tucker led off the ninth with a double and came home on an RBI single. Reliever Guy Stevens (Lafayette, Calif.) came in and Eliot Smith was able to hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 5-4, but Stevens regrouped to get the final two outs to finish off the game.

Freshman shortstop Sam Fox (New York, N.Y.) drove in the first two runs for the Sagehens with an RBI double in the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth. In the fifth, junior right fielder Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.) homered off the scoreboard in right to make it 3-0, and two batters later, Bruml hit a solo shot to straightaway center.

Pomona-Pitzer added what seemed like a harmless run in the seventh with the help of two Redlands errors. Fox reached when a high throw from Tucker at shortstop pulled the first baseman off the bag, and junior left fielder Mike Moyer (Oakland, Calif.) followed with a bunt single that ended up scoring Fox all the way from first as the throw went up the right field line. It would turn out to be the winning run, though, as Redlands rallied for a four-run ninth to pull within 5-4 before Stevens closed it out.

The freshman infielders combined for seven hits for the Sagehens, as third baseman E.J. Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) was 3-for-4, Fox was 2-for-3, and second baseman Mark Okuma (Palos Verdes, Calif.) was 1-for-2 with two hit-by-pitches. Bruml also had a solo home run, and finished with eight innings pitched, five hits, two earned runs, six strikeouts and one walk in improving to 7-0 in his rookie year.

The Sagehens will close out the regular season with a road game at CMS tomorrow and hope that one more win and a second-place finish in the SCIAC will be enough to earn an NCAA bid.