PASADENA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2017) – Sophomore Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro) made his presence felt at the plate in the second game of Caltech's Saturday doubleheader against visiting Providence Christian College. The catcher recorded three hits in five at-bats to yield three RBIs as the Beavers split the two-game series with the Sea Beggars.
Game One: Providence Christian 7, Caltech 2
Sophomore Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) took the mound for a third time this season for the Beavers and for a second consecutive week struggled amidst the cold, rainy conditions. The lefty's best moments came in the first two innings where he limited the Sea Beggars to no runs or hits while picking up one of his two strikeouts of the game. Things went awry for Krop in third inning, however, when he allowed two of Providence Christian's best baserunners to reach and orchestrate a double steal. From there, he gave up four runs in the inning and two more in the fourth before giving way to freshman Grant Messner (Lake Forest, Ill. / Lake Forest), who surrendered one earned run on the heels of three walks in one and two-thirds innings of work. Messner would bridge the gap between Krop and senior Tim Menninger (Norristown, Pa. / Chestnut Hill Academy).
Menninger displayed good command of the strike zone and pitched four and one-third clean and efficient innings, picking up three strikeouts along the way. He allowed just two hits and one walk in mopup work but the Beavers offense sputtered in spite of out-hitting the Sea Beggars 10-8. Senior Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) batted third and picked up the Beavers' lone RBI of the game. He went two-for-four at the plate, as did freshman David Adams (Atlanta, Ga. / Holy Innocents' Episcopal School), who came just a few feet away from cracking his first home run of the season. Adams depth on the shot, but pulled the ball just to the lef of the left-field foul pole. In spite of the Beavers consistently accumulating hits over the course of the nine-inning game, they were unable to capitalize which ultimately proved to be the difference in the first game.
Game Two: Caltech 11, Providence Christian 5
Caltech fared much better in the second game of the doubleheader and owe much it of to a fast start. The Beavers racked up 11 hits in the second game but also received help from four Providence Christian errors, two of which came in the first inning. After sophomore Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) walked for the first of four times in the game, Burleson reached first on an error before making it all the way around the third base thus bringing Moffatt all the way around from first. Burleson came home on the next at-bat, when Adams reached first on an error by the Sea Beggars' second baseman. The Beavers finally earned themselves an RBI when freshman Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) came up and smacked a double into left-centerfield to score Adams.
In addition to Moffatt, who scored twice and increased his hitting streak to six games on the season, Burleson proved to be one of the stars of the Caltech offense in the second game. Burleson knocked the ball into left-center field in his second time at the plate to score McCarren in the second inning. In a near identical scenario, Burleson knocked McCarren home in the third innings on a single that dropped in front of the centerfielder. Burleson's final RBI came when he sent score Moffatt from second on a single through the left side. Like Burleson, senior rightfielder Harrison Jacobs (Tucson, Ariz. / Catalina Foothills) went 3-for-5 and scored one run. McCarren, meanwhile went 2-for-4 for a second consecutive game and crossed home plate four times. Unlike the first game, the Caltech offensive production was present in bunches and the Beavers made the Sea Beggars pay for each of their errors.
It certainly did not hurt that senior pitcher Kai Kirk (San Jose, Calif. / St. Paul's (Wesleyan Univ.)) had been staked to a three-run lead by the time he took the mound in just the second inning. While he did give up six walks and four runs , none of the runs were earned and Kirk did well with staggering baserunners. He left five runners on base in four innings on the day. The veteran lefty also used his stuff to work out of the jams, as four of his 12 outs came from strikeouts. Freshman Alex Corado (San Diego, Calif. / Scripps Ranch) relieved Kirk at the top of the fifth inning and once again limited the damage, allowing Providence Christian just one run in the fifth before settling down in the sixth innings. Perry and senior Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Academy) pitched the final three scoreless innings for the Beavers, shutting the Sea Beggars down for good.
Head Coach Matthew Mark and the Beavers will open up SCIAC play in Friday's home tilt, an Orange Out no less, against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in the first of a three-game weekend series. The first pitch will be thrown at 2:30 p.m.