PASADENA (Apr. 29, 2017) – Caltech Baseball brought a successful 2017 season to an end on Saturday with an afternoon doubleheader against St. Katherine College. While the Beavers could not quite recreate the success from Friday's opening game in the series, one Beaver is now in sole possession of a key single-season record.
Sophomore Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro) wrapped 2017 as Caltech's record holder for hits in a single season, breaking the joint record formerly held by Brian Panserini '12 and Greg Fricke '00 with 46 hits over 38 games. Not to be outdone, fellow sophomore Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) had a career year in his own right. Moffatt's 40 hits tied the previous record held by Panserini and Fricke and his 10 doubles tied a single-season record occupied by four former Beavers and one of his teammates--Burleson, who doubled 10 times in his freshman season. Both players should be building blocks for Head Coach Matthew Mark to construct his roster around for the next two seasons.
Game 1: Caltech 1, St. Katherine 2
The first game featured senior Kai Kirk (San Jose, Calif. / Wesleyan Univ.) on the mound to make the final start of his two-year Caltech career. Kirk did not disappoint the Caltech faithful, pitching all seven innings while surrendering just two runs on five hits while striking out three firebirds over that span. Both of the runs came in the first and second innings, meaning Kirk's final five innings in a Caltech uniform featured shutout were shutout innings. His consistency on the mound kept the Beavers in the game and his teammates managed to deliver in spots. The Beavers' lone run came across when senior Tim Menninger (Norristown, Pa. / Chestnut Hill Academy), pinch hitting for Connor Moffatt knocked in freshman Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) on a single into left field in the sixth inning.
Game 2: Caltech 0, St. Katherine 9
The Firebirds found their power stroke in the third game of the weekend series and made it tough on a Caltech team looking to end its regular season on a high note. The Beavers' best moment came in the fifth inning when Tim Menninger tripled into right center on a lined shot that hopped between the right fielder and center fielder in the gap. Menninger, eager to deliver in his final game with the Beavers, jetted around the bases and beat the throw into third. Senior Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) had the Beavers' only other extra-base hit of the game when he doubled in the second inning. McCarren, who led the team with a robust .368 batting average, also went a perfect 11-for-11 in steal attempts. Speaking of steals, the seniors, looking to make one final impression in the orange and white were also active on the basepaths. Senior Kai Kirk, who started in left field swiped two bags while fellow senior Harrison Jacobs (Tucson, Ariz. / Catalina Foothills) stole second in the first inning.
Seniors Kai Kirk, Tim Menninger, Harrison Jacobs, John Galden (Columbus, Ohio / St. Charles Prep), Schaeffer Reed (Miami, Fla. / Westminster Christian), J.D. Feist (Richardson, Texas / Jesuit College Prep) and Matthew Edwards (Canyon Country, Calif. / Canyon) were honored for their contributions to the program in a pre-game ceremony.
The season has to be considered a resounding success for Mark and the Beavers, as they picked up two SCIAC victories including their first in 29 years while winning eight total games, a program-best under Mark's leadership. Receiving contributions up and down the lineup in addition to sound starting pitching, the Beavers will look to build upon this season's success in 2018.