Photo by Ellen Bublick
PASADENA (Mar. 25, 2017) – Senior Kai Kirk (San Jose, Calif. / St. Paul's (Wesleyan Univ.)) pitched the second game of Caltech's SCIAC weekend baseball series with the University of Redlands and held the Bulldogs to two runs in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.
Friday: Redlands 16, Caltech 1
Freshman infielder Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) led the Caltech offense with two hits in three at bats and scored the Beavers' only run of the day in a game where Redlands jumped out on them early. Fellow freshman David Adams (Atlanta, Ga. / Holy Innocents' Episcopal School) knocked Perry in on a sacrifice grounder where he managed to reach first on an error. Sophomore Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) got the start for Caltech and senior John Galden (Columbus, Ohio / St. Charles Prep) relieved him in the fifth inning.
Saturday Game 1: Redlands 2, Caltech 1
With Friday's game behind them, starting pitcher Kai Kirk and the Beavers took the turf on Saturday intent on reversing their fortunes. Kirk did not record a strikeout in any of the nine innings he pitched but registered his first ever complete game with the Beavers and got 12 of his 27 outs from ground balls. Kirk kept the ball low in the zone and displayed good command of the strike zone to get out ahead of the Bulldogs' lineup and limit the damage to just two earned runs on nine hits and just one walk.
The Beavers also took advantage of the Bulldogs' willingness to play small ball and nearly mounted a ninth-inning comeback of epic proportions. Though the Caltech lineup struggled to mount much offense against Redlands starter Michael Collins for most of the game, sophomore catcher Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro) got things going in the ninth-inning to extend his then-hitting streak to 14 games with a lead-off single. Junior clean-up hitter Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) followed up with a double down the left-field line to advance Burleson to third and dispatch Collins from the mound. From there, the Bulldogs forced the Beavers to adjust to closer John White's sidearm delivery as they looked to closer the door on a Caltech comeback. Junior Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Academy) knocked Burleson in on a hard grounder to third, but it would be the first and final run Caltech scored on the day as the Beavers came perhaps just two or three hits away from earning their first SCIAC victory of the season. McCarren led Caltech with two hits in four at-bats and is the Beavers' current batting leader.
Saturday Game 2: Redlands 6, Caltech 1
The second game of Saturday's doubleheader saw the Beavers struggle again offensively but brought about another solid pitching performance, this time from usual back-end weekend starter Cortland Perry. The freshman, like Kirk in the prior game pitched deep and gave up nine hits and six earned runs over eight innings, though had given up just four earned runs prior to the eighth inning. He also struck out two batters. Senior Tim Menninger (Norristown, Pa. / Chestnut Hill Academy) pitched a clean ninth inning in relief of Perry, surrendering just one hit. Ultimately, the Beavers were unable to solve Redlands starter John Keane, who pitched the entire quick-paced game which lasted just one hour and 40 minutes. Caltech's lone run came when sophomore Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) scored senior Harrison Jacobs (Tucson, Ariz. / Catalina Foothills) on a single through the middle, into center field. Moffatt led the Beavers offense with two hits while Burleson saw his hitting streak come to an end at 14 games, dating back to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges series in February.
Head Coach Matthew Mark and the Beavers will turn their attention to next weekend's series with SCIAC foe Pomona-Pitzer College. Caltech will host the first game on Friday, Mar. 31 at 3:00 p.m.