PASADENA, Calif. (Apr. 28, 2015) – The Caltech baseball team capped its 2015 season facing Chapman University in SCIAC Pool Play on Tuesday. After falling behind by a run, Caltech bounced back to tie the game and took a brief lead before the Panthers put it out of reach in a 9-2 victory.
The matchup had the makings of a pitchers' duel in the early going, with both starters retiring the side in order in the first inning. Chapman pushed the first run across following a throwing error that extended the inning. Senior Derek Kearney (Carlsbad, Calif. / La Costa Canyon) recovered to retire the next seven Panthers batters as Caltech finally got a man on base as senior Oliver Curtiss (Hudson, Ohio / Western Reserve Acad.) led off the third inning with a double to deep right center. A sacrifice bunt advanced him to third with just one out, and sophomore Chris Bradley (Half Moon Bay, Calif. / Serra) made contact on an RBI groundout to bring him home.
Caltech then plated the go-ahead run as the Panthers brought in their third pitcher already in just the fourth inning. After freshman Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Acad.) singled his way aboard with one out, junior Daniel Chou (Blue Bell, Pa. / Wissahickon) smashed a double down the left field line and Head Coach Matthew Mark sent Levine home, where the rookie slid through the tag to knock the ball out of the catcher's glove and register the run.
The lead was short-lived, though, as another unearned run for Chapman on a sacrifice fly tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning. The Panthers tacked on two more in the top of the sixth on back-to-back two-out doubles and the Beavers could not get freshman Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) home after a leadoff single and stolen base.
Chapman opened the seventh inning with a solo home run to right field and added two more runs with two outs later in the frame. Caltech nearly answered after a sharp lineout by freshman David Watson (Fort Collins, Colo. / Windsor), as junior Dylan Schultz and senior Ryan Casey (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) drew consecutive walks, but an incredible play by the shortstop to turn the double play ended the inning. Chapman threatened in the eighth with a runner reaching third base with two outs thanks to a passed ball, but Bradley collected a lineout in left field and led off the bottom of the frame with a single, but could not be brought home.
The Panthers added two more runs on identical doubles skipping right over the third base bag in the ninth and the Beavers could not respond, falling 9-2.
Schultz led the Beavers in reaching base twice, via walks, while Curtiss went 1-for-2 with a run. Kearney allowed just four earned runs on eight hits while walking none in 6 1/3 innings pitched.
Caltech took major strides forward this season, sweeping a Division III opponent for the first time since at least 2000, dropping a pair of SCIAC games by three or fewer runs and taking an 8-0 lead on Chapman earlier in the spring before the Panthers pulled back to win. Kearney ends his career having posted the third-lowest single-season ERA (6.64) and third-highest innings pitched total (81.1) in program history while tying the single-season record for starts (13). Levine came just one double shy of tying the single-season program mark of 10 and, along with Chou, Jacobs and Watson, set a new record for games in a season at 37. Chou also set a new benchmark for at-bats in a single season, with 136.