PASADENA (Mar. 31, 2017) – Caltech's SCIAC baseball winless streak is no more.
Late-game heroics from freshman Alex Corado (San Diego, Calif. / Scripps Ranch) and a sound pitching performance from sophomore Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) earned the Beavers their first SCIAC victory since 1988 in a 4-3 walk-off win over Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, breaking a 29-year winless streak.
Corado's walk-off single to score senior Kai Kirk (San Jose, Calif. / Wesleyan Univ.) from second base put an end to the longest SCIAC winless streak in Caltech athletics and featured a similar feeling of elation as to when the men's basketball team ended their infamous streak back in 2011.
Caltech would not have been in a position to win the game had it not been for Krop's excellent day on the mound. After a rough outing against University of Redlands the week before, Krop got back to basics against the Sagehens and earned the complete-game win. He only struck out one batter, but forced his SCIAC foes into groundballs while managing to limit the free passes. He walked just three and recovered from a dramatic fifth inning that saw the Sagehens plate three on a go-ahead home run after going down 2-0 in the first inning.
But the day surely belongs to Corado, who led the team with two hits and, with one swing of the bat, put an end to 29 years of misery. The freshman entered the game hitting just .129 on the year but advanced stats would indicate that his low average was driven by bad luck on balls in play. His second hit of the day could not have come at a better time.
Trailing 3-2 with two outs and the Beavers' backs against the wall, junior David Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor) kept Caltech alive with a single up the middle. Head Coach Matthew Mark then opted to pinch run Schaeffer Reed (Miami, Fla. / Westminster Christian) for Watson, which proved to be an excellent decision. Kirk came to the plate and cranked a stand-up double into left center field, scoring the fast and lanky Reed all the way from first base. With Kirk in scoring position and Corado at the plate, the Sagehens opted for a pitching change, inserting Casey Herschfield into a high-leverage situation. Facing a full-count with nothing to lose, Corado drove the ball into left field and brought Kirk home from second.
Junior Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day), senior Harrison Jacobs (Tucson, Ariz. / Catalina Foothills) and freshman Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) also earned hits for the Beavers. McCarren added his 10th steal of the season and is yet to be caught on the basepaths.
Mark and the Beavers will have a limited amount of time to celebrate the win before returning to action tomorrow for a doubleheader at Pomona-Pitzer to cap off the series. The first game is slated for an 11 a.m. start time.