PASADENA (Mar. 29, 2018) – The Caltech baseball team showed on Saturday afternoon there is still at least an ounce of 2017 magic left when junior pitcher Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) and the Beavers recreated last year's milestone victory over visiting Pomona-Pitzer Colleges with another victory over the Sagehens. The win is the Beavers' first in SCIAC play this season.
Caltech's junior starting pitcher needed to hurl one of, if not the best game of his career for the Beavers to have a chance against a deep and experienced Sagehens squad and Krop did not disappoint. He froze the Sagehens looking for five of his eight strikeouts on the day while scattering six hits over the nine-inning complete-game outing. Following the Beavers' go-ahead runs in the eighth inning, Head Coach Matthew Mark opted to leave Krop, one of his most trusted arms, in the game to finish the job. Three quick outs, two of which came on the ground, gave Krop the second biggest win of his career. The junior, of course got a complete-game victory last year when the Beavers took down the Sagehens in similarly dramatic fashion, at North Field no less to undo a near 20-year SCIAC winless streak.
Friday: Pomona-Pitzer 13, Caltech 3
The first game of the weekend series came in Claremont, but that did not stop the Beavers from grinding out eight hits. Sophomore second baseman Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) and senior pitcher Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Academy) combined for half the hits while Perry picked up a big RBI double in the fifth inning to give Caltech its final run of the day. Caltech's other RBI came on a single from junior infielder Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) in the very first inning that brought Levine home from third following a balk.
Saturday Game 1: Pomona-Pitzer 17, Caltech 1
Caltech got its bats going late with the Beavers' lone run coming in the final inning when senior first baseman David Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor) brought his freshman brother Mitchell Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor) home from third on a single into center field. In that same inning, Moffatt picked up a rare steal running behind the younger Watson.
Saturday Game 2: Caltech 3, Pomona-Pitzer 2
The weekend's greatest story comes courtesy of a masterful pitching performance from Krop and some late game heroics from leaders Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day), Levine and Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro). McCarren, ever the opportunist, happened to steal third base on the same play as a wild pitch, opening the door for him to come all the way around and tie the game at two runs apiece. With Perry having advanced to second, Levine smashed a single through the right side to bring the athletic Perry all the way home for the go-ahead run. That would be all Caltech needed for Krop to take the mound one last time in the top of the ninth and slam the door shut on the Sagehens. Burleson, meanwhile sparked the Caltech rally, as the first of the home team's three unanswered runs came thanks to a triple from the junior catcher in the fifth inning to score freshman designated hitter Dillon Holder (New York, N.Y. / Horace Mann).
The volume offense paid dividends for Caltech, as four different players had at least two hits, including Perry, Burleson, David Watson and sophomore outfielder Alex Corado (San Diego, Calif. / Scripps Ranch), the hero of last year's game. The Beavers also played an excellent defensive game, particularly in an unorthodox eighth inning which saw a Sagehen reach first following a strikeout before Krop snagged a hard liner and on instinct threw to the elder Watson on first, who just managed to keep his foot on the bag as the ball entered his glove to secure a neat double play. The heads up play, combined with the stingy defense the Beavers had displayed all game long, gave Krop the confidence he needed to finish the job.
Coach Mark and the Beavers will go toe-to-toe with Chapman University in next weekend's series beginning Friday, Apr. 6 at 3 p.m. in Pasadena.