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April 28, 2013

Senior Day Celebration Carries Onto Field As Sagehens Get Two Wins

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Claremont, Calif. - Senior Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif. - pictured) reached base in his first 10 plate appearances (8-for-8 with a walk and a HBP) as the Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team celebrated Senior Day with two wins over La Verne and Whittier on the final day of its regular season.

The Sagehens defeated La Verne 5-4 in a dramatic win in the opener, and then took a 12-6 win over Whittier in the second game to close out its four SCIAC Round-Robin games with a 27-12 overall record and a 20-8 mark in the SCIAC.  La Verne falls to 20-16 overall and 14-12 in the SCIAC, while Whittier falls to 15-23 overall and 12-15 in league play.

In addition to the torrid hitting of Munzer, the seven Sagehen seniors all contributed to the two wins. Senior Collin Majev (Baltimore, Md.) won the first game for the Sagehens, while senior Stuart Gano (Lakewood, Wash.) got the win the nightcap. Senior Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.) was 5-for-9 in the doubleheader, senior Mike Moyer (Oakland, Calif.) had hits in both games, and senior pitchers Guy Stevens (Lafayette, Calif.) and Lorcan McGonigle (New York, N.Y.) closed out the eighth and ninth inning of the Whittier game, respectively.

The big story of the day was Munzer, who was 5-for-5 in the opening game, and then was 3-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch in the nightcap before popping up into shallow left field in his final at bat of the day to finish 8-for-9, with eight sharply hit balls and one bunt single. He finished the day with four runs scored and five RBI over the two contests.

Munzer had a two-run single in the fifth inning against La Verne to stake the Sagehens to a 5-1 lead, but La Verne came back to within 5-4 and had the bases loaded with nobody out in the eighth. Sophomore first baseman Jake Bruml (San Mateo, Calif.) then had the defensive play of the day with a leaping catch of a line drive to rob Jared Hovsepian of extra bases, and reliever Robert Weller (Irvine, Calif.) escaped the jam with a double play ball after a La Verne runner was called out for interference trying to break up the double play at second.

In addition to the 5-for-5 from Munzer, Gentili was 3-for-5 with two RBI, and Moyer was 1-for-5 with a run scored, as the senior outfield batted 9-for-15. Majev allowed two hits over five innings to get the win, while Weller threw two hitless innings of relief for his sixth save.

The Whittier game was back and forth throughout, as the Poets scored three runs in the first inning with the help of four infield singles, which included everything from a bad hop off the lip of the glass, to Gano slipping trying to plant himself after fielding a bunt. Munzer had an RBI double in the second and a two-run single in the fourth to put the Sagehens ahead 5-3, before Cody Martinez hit a two-run homer in the fifth to tie the score 5-5.

Munzer then led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, improving to 8-for-8 on the day, and Gentili hit a double to center field to bring him home with the go-ahead run. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Madden (Oakland, Calif.) added a two-run single to make the score 8-5. Sophomore third baseman E.J. Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) added an RBI double in the seventh, and Moyer had an RBI in the eighth to close out the scoring.

Freshman designated hitter Kevin Brice (Tucson, Ariz.) was 4-for-5 for the Sagehens, while Bruml was 4-for-4. Munzer finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI in the second game of the doubleheader, capping off his 8-for-9 day.

Gano earned the win to improve to 4-2 on the mound, throwing five innings and striking out five. Sophomore Mark Okuma (Palos Verdes, Calif.) threw two solid innings of relief before giving way to the seniors. Stevens, who was the closer last year but who had not thrown since opening day this year due to injury, allowed just an unearned run in the eighth, while McGonigle, in his second career appearance, pitched a perfect ninth, ending the game with a strikeout.

Pomona-Pitzer will be the second seed in the upcoming SCIAC Tournament, beginning next week, and will host Redlands in the first game of the double-elimination tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. The tourney will then move on to top-seeded Cal Lutheran on Saturday and Sunday, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.