Claremont, Calif. – Senior first baseman James Campbell (Lookout Mountain, Tenn. - pictured) was 4-for-5 with two homers, a double, three runs scored and three RBI as the Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team defeated Rutgers-Newark 9-6 to salvage a split of two games at Alumni Field on the first day of the California Invitational.
The Sagehens fell 9-5 in the first game of the day to Ithaca College, as Bombers Head Coach George Valesente picked up his 1000th career victory. Pomona-Pitzer now stands at 10-8-1 on the year with the split, while Ithaca improves to 6-2 and Rutgers-Newark falls to 5-7.
In the Rutgers-Newark contest, Campbell staked Pomona-Pitzer to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first (the Sagehens were playing as the visiting team as part of the tournament format) with a solo homer over the fence in left-center. Tucker Healy, though, had an RBI single for the Scarlet Raiders in the bottom half to knot the score back up 1-1.
In the top of the second, Pomona-Pitzer scored twice as Rutgers-Newark threw the ball away attempting to turn a double play to allow the first run to score from second, and junior center fielder Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.) hit a double down the left field line.
The Sagehens took advantage of two Rutgers-Newark errors in the third to score three more runs, as Campbell led off with a single and stole second, then scored on an error. Senior designated hitter Ben Cohen (Camarillo, Calif.) added an RBI double and freshman second baseman Mark Okuma (Palos Verdes, Calif.) hit a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 6-1.
Rutgers-Newark got back to within 6-4 with a run in the third and two in the fourth, as Anthony Palladino hit a solo homer and Vin Triosi had an RBI single. The Scarlet Raiders had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, but starting pitcher Leo Rosetti was able to get a key 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Campbell then led off the top of the fifth with his second homer of the game, a solo shot to almost the same spot as his first one over the left-center field fence. He nearly made it three in the top of the sixth as he drove a ball to left field, which is unusually deep (360 feet) at Alumni Field, and it short-hopped the wall for an RBI double, making the score 8-4.
Collin Majev (Baltimore, Md.) came on in relief to throw 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, but tired in seventh and walked two around a hit batter to force in a run. Stuart Gano (Lakewood, Wash.) came on in relief with the bases loaded and two outs and froze pinch-hitter Shane Nolan with a 1-2 curve ball on the inside corner to get the third out.
Munzer got the run back for Pomona-Pitzer in the top of the eighth with an RBI double to right-center, but the Scarlet Raiders answered when Jason McCluskey led off with a double and came home on two groundouts. Rutgers-Newark had two on and two out in the ninth inning to bring the tying run to the plate, but Gano again got a backwards K, this time on the inside corner with a fast ball, to catch pinch hitter Graham Commesso looking and end the game.
Majev earned the win in relief for the Sagehens, throwing 2.2 innings and allowing one run and one hit. Gano finished out the final 2.1 innings for the save. Cohen was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, and Gentili and Munzer were each 2-for-5. Triosi was 2-for-3 with two RBI for the Scarlet Raiders.
In the first game of the day, the Sagehens fell 9-5 to Ithaca as Bomber head coach George Valesente picked up his 1000th career victory. Pat Lemmo pitched a complete game for Ithaca and Matt Keller was 2-for-2 with three RBI as Sagehen starter Travis Rooke-Ley (Eugene, Ore.) suffered his first loss (5-1) of the season.
Pomona-Pitzer jumped out to a 3-0 lead early on a two-run double from freshman designated hitter Jake Bruml (San Mateo, Calif.) and a single from freshman third baseman E.J. Lopez (Fresno, Calif.). Ian Gaule had an RBI single in the second, and the Bombers scored two runs in the third to tie it 3-3 on a sacrifice fly from Christian Brown and a wild pitch.
A Gaule single up the middle after a passed ball helped set up the go-ahead run on an RBI groundout from Luke Stark in the fourth. Lemmo then kept the Pomona-Pitzer offense at bay while Rooke-Ley retired the side in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Ithaca was able to break it open with a run in the eighth on an RBI single from Keller, and four in the ninth, keyed by a two-run single from Keller off the top of the wall.
Sophomore left fielder Mike Moyer (Oakland, Calif.) was the only player with more than one hit for the Sagehens against Ithaca, finishing 2-for-5. Rooke-Ley went seven innings, allowed five hits and struck out six while surrendering only one earned run to get the tough luck defeat, falling to 5-1 on the year.
Pomona-Pitzer is scheduled to return to action tomorrow for a home game against Kean University at 11 a.m. (weather permitting).