CLU Downs Sagehens in SCIAC Opener
CLU defeats Pomona-Pitzer 11-3
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Cal Lutheran scored three runs in three straight innings, propelling them to 11-3 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opening victory over Pomona-Pitzer Friday afternoon at Ullman Stadium. The Kingsmen slugged out 17 hits against the Sagehens, marking their sixth straight game with at least 10 hits.
Cal Lutheran was actually held hit-less through the first three innings as Pomona-Pitzer starting pitcher Jake Bruml retired nine straight Kingsmen to start the game.
Not to be outdone, CLU starting pitcher Jake Petersen also held the Sagehens off the scoreboard while striking out three through the first three innings. Petersen was aided by some stellar defense from third baseman Nicho DellaValle in the bottom of the third. After a lead-off single by Mark Okuma, DellaValle fielded a drag bunt by Mike Moyer and made a perfect throw on the run to Nick Boggan at first base. The next batter, EJ Lopez, hit a hot shot down the third base line before DellaValle made a diving stop, quickly got to his feet, and threw a strike across the infield to get Lopez at first and bailing CLU out of the inning.
Pomona-Pitzer would break the 0-0 tie in the top of the fourth when Nick Gentili was hit by a pitch, Bruml followed with a single, and both were brought in a double to the right field gap by Simon Rosenbaum. The Sagehens would tack on another run two batters later when Travis Bowers singled in Rosenbaum, increasing the Pomona-Pitzer lead to 3-0.
Unfazed, Cal Lutheran would respond with four straight hits to start the bottom of the fourth. Ronnie Burton led off with a double to left center and was brought in during the next at-bat when DellaValle singled up the middle, giving CLU their first run of the game. Trevor Koons stepped in next and laced a ball through the left side of the infield. Boggan followed that with a single of his own, plating Koons and bringing the Kingsmen to within one run at 3-2. After Bruml got a strike-out and force-out at home, Mike Vinyard lined a shot back up the middle, plating Boggan and tying the game.
After Petersen retired the side in the top of the fifth, Cal Lutheran broke the game open in the bottom half of the inning. Despite Pomona-Pitzer getting two quick outs to start the inning, DellaValle delivered when he flared a triple into the right field gap and then scored on an errant relay throw from the shortstop, giving CLU its first lead of the game at 4-3. Koons followed that with his second hit of the game and then Boggan hit his second tape-measure home run in as many games when he blasted a two-run shot over the right field wall.
The Kingsmen struck again in the bottom of the sixth when Garrett Smith doubled to center field after Vinyard left off with a bunt single. Burton then singled on a high-chopper to the second basemen while that Smith alertly rounded third and slid into home just before the throw. DellaValle later sliced another single into right field, driving in Burton and putting CLU up 9-3.
Cal Lutheran added two runs in the bottom of the seventh when Burton had a two-run single that followed base hits from Kevin Leonard and John Leal.
After allowing three runs in the fourth, Petersen cruised over the next four innings, scattering five hits while not allowing a single run.
Matt Johnston came on in relief in the ninth and induced a game-ending 1-6-3 double play.
Burton, DellaValle, Koons and Vinyard all collected three hits on the day while Boggan had two to go along with two RBIs.
Petersen (1-0) earned his first victory as a Kingsmen, striking out a career-high six batters in 8.0 innings of work.
Bruml (2-1) suffered his first loss of the year, going 5.2 innings while giving up 11 hits and six runs.
Cal Lutheran (4-2-1, 1-0 SCIAC) rounds out the three-game series Saturday, Feb. 23, when they travel to Claremont, Calif. for a double header with the Sagehens. First pitch is set for 11:00 a.m.