Photo by Nhi Casey
LA VERNE, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2016) – Sophomore David Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor) went 5-for-7 with three RBI and a run over the Saturday doubleheader of Caltech baseball's SCIAC-opening series vs. the University of La Verne this weekend.
The Leopards swept the series to improve to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the SCIAC, while the Beavers dip to 1-4 (0-3).
Caltech 2, La Verne 11
Junior Kai Kirk (San Jose, Calif. / Wesleyan Univ.) got two quick out to start Friday's game but walked the next two batters and La Verne capitalized, driving both home on a double and plating a third on another double to take the 3-0 lead. The Leopards added another run in each of the second and third innings to go ahead by five heading to the bottom of the third.
Caltech staged the makings of a rally as senior Dylan Schultz (St. Louis, Mo. / Clayton) led off with an infield single and was joined on the base paths by senior Daniel Chou (Blue Bell, Pa. / Wissahickon) and sophomore Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) via walk. Freshman Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) then drew the bases-loaded walk to push one across and chase the La Verne starter, the Leopards' West Region starter last season. The visitors brought in last year's No. 2, Javi Iniguez, who gave up another bases-loaded walk before proceeding to shut down the Beavers the remainder of the game. La Verne went on to score runs in the fourth and fifth innings before junior John Galden (Columbus, Ohio / St. Charles Prep) came in to shut them down over the next two. The Leopards added two more insurance runs in each of the eighth and ninth innings as the Beavers were unable to get another runner into scoring position.
Caltech 5, La Verne 9
The Beavers took a quick lead in the Saturday opener as Chou led off with a single and McCarren reached to put runners on the corners. Chou came in to score on an RBI groundout by Moffatt, but La Verne responded with a one-out RBI double in the bottom of the second.
Caltech put runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the second inning but La Verne caught the runner at third on a comebacker to the pitcher and got two huge strikeouts to escape unscathed. Moffatt then doubled with one out in the third but could not be brought home, after which La Verne's bats finally woke up and plated five runs in the bottom of the frame.
Sophomore Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Acad.) smashed a leadoff double to left-center in the top of the fourth but the next three batters were unable to get the ball out of the infield to advance him. Kirk would draw a leadoff walk in the sixth and moved up to second as Watson singled his way aboard, but a flyout and pickoff ended the inning.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Levine held the Leopards in check for a fourth scoreless frame through the sixth inning. La Verne finally pushed across two more insurance runs via small ball in the bottom of the seventh, but Caltech's offense began to click and threaten to rally. Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases with Watson coming to the plate and the sophomore slugger delivered, lacing a single into left center to drive two runs home. Two more runs scored on an error later in the inning to bring Caltech within four, but the Leopards mustered another themselves in the ninth and got a double play to erase a McCarren walk and seal the victory.
Caltech 3, La Verne 14 (7 inn.)
Game Two ended early via run-rule, but not before the Beavers made another early charge. A leadoff single by Chou went for naught on a strikeout-throw out double play and La Verne took the lead with a two-out, two-RBI single. Caltech immediately leveled the score in the top of the second as McCarren and junior Tim Menninger (Norristown, Pa. / Chestnut Hill Acad.) reached base with just one out and scored via error and a Schultz single.
The Leopards tacked on another in the second before exploding for a combined nine in the third and fourth innings. Caltech got one back on another Watson single to score McCarren and Chou came on for a pair of innings in relief, over which he allowed just one hit while recording a strikeout and no earned runs.
Chou strung together a hit in each game to extend his season-opening streak to five games. McCarren hit 3-for-6 with three walks and a pair of runs while Schultz went 2-for-4 with a walk, run and RBI.
Head Coach Matthew Mark and the Beavers take on Occidental College (3-4, 1-2) this weekend. Oxy will host the Friday game with the Beavers hosting the Saturday, Feb. 27 doubleheader, beginning at 11 a.m.