PASADENA (Feb. 26, 2019) – The Caltech baseball team closed the month of February on a high note when it rallied against Castleton College on Tuesday afternoon for its second-straight win.
The Beavers hung with the Spartans for most of the game and even got ahold of a small lead early when senior infielder Connor Moffatt (Charleston, W.Va. / George Washington) brought freshman second baseman Max Popken (Westport, Conn. / Staples) home from third on a sacrifice fly. Caltech kept Castleton off the board until the sixth-inning thanks to a more bullpen-oriented approach that kept the Spartans on their toes. Senior Jonah Krop (Santa Monica, Calif. / Santa Monica) got the starting nod and produced two clean innings, issuing just one walk over that span while striking out a pair of batters. Freshman Matthew Szedlock (Westminster, Md. / Gerstell Academy) followed up with another trio of scoreless innings where he too struck out a pair of Spartans. As the two cross-nation teams began to figure each other out, the offense followed suit.
Caltech needed a big offensive inning late after Castleton scratched two runs across in the top-eighth and the Beavers' bats delivered in spades. Freshman Dawson Beutler (Omaha, Neb. / Millard West) started things off by getting hit by a pitch for the second time of the game, before a single into center field, followed by a steal from Popken put two runners in scoring position with just one out on the board. Three-hole hitter Cortland Perry (New York, N.Y. / The Dalton School) then came to the plate and singled through the left side to clear the bases and tie the game at three. Two more singles from the Beavers forced the Spartans into a pitching change, but Caltech managed to maintain its groove at the plate. Perry would go on to score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch before sophomore Mitchell Watson (Windsor, Colo. / Windsor), determined to deliver in a big moment whacked a bases-clearing single to stake the home team to a three-run lead late. On the ensuing at-bat, Watson scored from third after a grounder from senior catcher Mark Burleson (Ladera Ranch, Calif. / Tesoro) got by the second baseman for the Beavers' final run of the inning. Freshman Popken, who relieved Beutler on the mound back in the seventh inning, pitched out the remainder of the game and earned a big win with five punchouts and just one earned run in three innings.
Burleson, Popken and 'Moose' Watson led Caltech at the plate with two hits apiece. The Beavers also had an opportunity to gain the lead in the seventh inning when Watson singled through the left side before Burleson drove the ball down the left field line in the ensuing at-bat. Unfortunately, the ball rolled took a bad bounce and rolled out of play, forcing the senior catcher to yield at second and Watson at third. Popken led Caltech with two runs in addition to picking up the first win of his career on the mound.
Head Coach Kevin Whitehead and the Beavers will go for their third-straight win when they travel to Arizona this weekend for a three-game stint beginning with Carthage College on Saturday at 3 p.m.