LA VERNE, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2018) – Caltech baseball hooked up with the University of La Verne for a three-game SCIAC series over the weekend and thanks to starting pitcher Grant Messner (Lake Forest, Ill. / Lake Forest), the Beavers nearly came away with a victory in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.
Friday: La Verne 10, Caltech 0
Caltech collected eight hits over the seven inning affair against a Leopards team coming off a series win over defending national champion California Lutheran University. Junior catcher Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro) recorded Caltech's only extra base knock, a double into left center field in the sixth inning. The Beavers' middle infield combo, consisting of sophomore second baseman Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) and senior Chris McCarren (Kenilworth, Ill. / North Shore Country Day), who made his first start at shortstop this season, each had two hits to account for half of the home team's total. Starting pitcher Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) extracted five punchouts from the Leopards over six innings before being relieved by senior David Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor).
Saturday Game 1: La Verne 4, Caltech 3
Grant Messner took to the mound for the second game of the three game SCIAC series and got stronger with each passing inning. The sophomore recorded the first SCIAC complete game of his career and struck out 10 Leopards in the process. His final two strikeouts came in the bottom eighth in the face of a bases loaded jam. Messner struck out the first Leopards swinging before painting the strike zone against the very next batter to get his man looking. He now holds a 1.80 ERA on the young season to go with 9.5 K/9.
Messner's teammates did the bulk of their damage at the dish in the second inning where all of their runs came. Cortland Perry, the Caltech leader in batting average (.394) and RBIs (6) knocked in first baseman David Watson and junior third baseman Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) with a single into right field. The sophomore's two-base knock gave the Beavers a 3-2 lead, which they would hold until the Leopards came up to bat in the ensuing inning. Perry went on to record two more hits and swipe two bases to bring his total to three on the young season. Earlier in the inning, Moffatt scored Mark Burleson with a double into right field. Later in the game, Burleson would add to his team-leading stolen base total when he stole his sixth base of the season. He is yet to be thrown out.
Saturday Game 2: La Verne 14, Caltech 3
Caltech struck for the first time in the fourth inning of Game 3 at La Verne. Senior designated hitter Garrett Levine (Columbus, Ohio / Columbus Academy) singled in a bases loaded situation to score Chris McCarren. The senior was the only Beaver to record more than one hit, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Caltech's other RBI came in the seventh inning when the Beavers attempted to extend in the game. With his team on its final out of the game, Connor Moffatt hit a sac fly into deep center field to score Cortland Perry on a tag up play. Freshman infielder Mitchell Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor) came around in the prior inning thanks to a La Verne error.
Head Coach Matthew Mark and the Beavers will next meet Occidental College for a three game series, beginning Friday in Eagle Rock at 2:30 p.m.