THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A big day from seniors Kaden White and Justin Fong put the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on top 6-3 over the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags in opening weekend of conference play. Fong strung together seven innings in his first career start and White began the team's rally in the fourth with his first career home run.
A transfer from Ohlone College, Fong made his first career start in Friday's contest, after serving as an indispensable lefty out of last year's bullpen. Though roughed up early by the Stags and touching nearly 50 pitches after the first two innings, Fong recovered to pitch five more and record ten punchouts. Overall, he allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits while walking one and striking out ten in seven innings of work.
Down 3-0 early on small-ball play from the Stags, sophomore Tanner Wright got things going in the fourth with a lead-off single that caromed straight up off of third base, leaving no play for the third baseman. White then followed with his first career homer over the right field fence to cut the deficit to one and sending the dugout into a frenzy.
Riding the momentum, senior Weston Clark notched his second long ball of the year in the fifth to knot things up at three apiece before handing things over to the pitching staff. Entering with the tie, sophomore Zach Hardman pitched a perfect 1-2-3 eighth inning to set up the Kingsmen to go ahead in their half.
Kicking things off, junior Daniel Stauffer reached on a pinch-hit walk and moved into scoring position after Wright took one to the back. Then coming in clutch once again, White broke the hold with a two-out single to left center, that allowed Stauffer to score, and advanced to second on an error by the left fielder.
Next up to the plate, junior Matt Sciumbato capped things off with a single to right center and brought home Wright and White to go up 6-3. The outfielder has recorded a hit in every game played this season, bringing his total to seven hits in four games with three two-hit days.
However, the Stags did not look to go down without a fight. Coming in to close the top of the ninth, junior Christian Slattery put two on after walking one and hitting another with just one out. However, with the crowd on their feet, the reliever struck out his final two batters to send his team running on to the field in victory.
The win opens up Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on a high note, up 1-0 and 4-1 overall. The team continues the three-game series tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. in a double header against the Stags in Claremont, California.
Post-Game Interview: SR Kaden White and SR Justin Fong
Box Score: CLU 6, CMS 3
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director