THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - With a one game lead over second-place La Verne entering Saturday, the No. 16 Cal Lutheran baseball team controlled its own destiny and swept Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to claim the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship for the fifth straight season and 14th overall in program history. The Kingsmen shut out the Stags 5-0 in game one before topping CMS 5-2 at George "Sparky" Anderson Field on Senior Day.
Adding to the enjoyment of the afternoon, 10 Kingsmen seniors were recognized and honored for their contributions to the baseball program and department of athletics over the past four seasons. The group consisting of Nick Cohan, Brad Fullerton, Gabe Gunter, Jimmy Jauregui, Austin Kay, Marshall Pautsch, Trey Saito, Miguel Salud, Sinjin Todd and Eddie Villegas has helped CLU to four consecutive conference titles and an impressive 82-25 record against SCIAC opponents.
After starting this season 7-6 with five early losses in conference play, the Kingsmen caught fire and proceeded to win 15 in a row, including 12 straight conference games to reclaim its familiar spot atop the SCIAC standings.
Looking to make his final regular season start a memorable one, Pautsch (6-2) was in a groove on the mound and tallied a career-high 13 strikeouts. The senior righty went the distance for a complete game shutout while scattering eight hits.
Offensively, CLU stranded runners in scoring position in the second and third inning, but finally broke through in the fourth with clutch RBI singles from Saito and Kay. Weston Clark laced one to left center to lead off the frame with a single and moved to third on a double to left by Cheynne Giles. With one out, Saito poked one to right field to drive in the first run of the game while Kay found the hole on the left side to make it a 2-0 advantage CLU.
In the sixth inning, Giles was at it again, this time with a triple down the right field line to drive in Fullerton, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After an overthrow by the second baseman on the relay, Giles came all the way around to score to give the Kingsmen a 4-0 lead. Later in the inning, Max Weinstein singled and came around to score on another throwing error from the Stags.
Weinstein, Giles and Clark all went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Violet and Gold while Fullerton, Kay and Saito collected one hit apiece.
With a La Verne loss on Saturday afternoon, the Kingsmen secured the conference title outright regardless of the outcome against CMS in the nightcap. It did not end up mattering as the Kingsmen edged the Stags 5-2 behind a strong pitching performance by Scott Roberts.
The freshman tossed seven strong innings allowing just one earned run while striking out six and giving up eight hits.
CLU opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, sparked by a leadoff single by Weinstein. Jauregui brought him around to score with a deep double to right and moved to third on a wild pitch. With two outs, Ryne Yamashiro hustled tobeat out an infield single and Jauregui raced home on the play to make it 2-0 Kingsmen.
The Stags made things interesting after tying the game with a run apiece in the fifth and sixth, but CLU responded with two runs in the sixth to regain the lead. Yamashiro led off with a walk and came around to score on a Stags throwing error later in the inning and CLU tacked on one more on a Weinstein sac fly.
Gunter highlighted his senior day with a triple off the right field wall in the seventh and came home on a Jauregui sac fly to the warning track to give the Violet and Gold a 5-2 lead.
Troy Frazier and Salud each pitched an inning of relief to close out the Stags.
At the plate, Jauregui led the way with a 3-for-3 performance and two RBIs while Gunter and Weinstein added two hits each.
Cal Lutheran (28-10, 18-6 SCIAC) will host the SCIAC Postseason Tournament next weekend, set to begin on Friday, May 5. More information will be made available later this week.
Box Score: CLU 5, CMS 0
Box Score: CLU 5, CMS 2
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#
Baseball Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kingsmen_baseball/
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
Baseball Twitter: https://twitter.com/CLUBaseball
CLU Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clusports