Claremont, Calif. – Senior first baseman James Campbell (Lookout Mountain, Tenn. - pictured) returned from a two-week injury to bat 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and six RBI to lead the Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team to a 11-3 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Friday afternoon.
With the win, the Sagehens move to 17-11-1 on the year and 11-8 in the SCIAC. CMS falls to 12-19 overall and 7-12 in league play with the loss.
Campbell gave Pomona-Pitzer a 4-1 lead with two outs in the top of the fifth when he cleared the bases with a three-run double to cap off a four-run inning. Sophomore catcher Travis Bowers (Palo Alto, Calif.) and freshman shortstop Sam Fox (New York, N.Y.) had back-to-back singles with one out to start the rally. After CMS pitcher David Ulrich bounced back with a strikeout, freshman third baseman E.J. Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) singled in Bowers with a line drive to left to tie the score 1-1.
Junior right fielder Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.) then had an infield single off of Ulrich to load the bases, and Campbell followed with a long drive to left that one-hopped the fence to clear the bases and allow all three runners to score to give the Sagehens the lead for good.
After CMS closed within 4-2 with a run in the bottom of the sixth, Campbell hit a towering shot in the seventh with two runners on for his ninth homer of the season, stretching the lead to 7-2. Bowers capped off the inning with a two-run single to extend the lead to 9-2, scoring junior center fielder Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.), who walked and stole two bases and freshman second baseman Mark Okuma (Palos Verdes, Calif.).
The Stags scored one in the bottom of the eighth to creep within 9-3, but left the bases loaded as reliever Collin Majev (Baltimore, Md.) got a weak grounder for the final out. Fox then came up with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth and had a two-run single get through the 5-6 hole, to cap off the scoring and make the final 11-3.
Campbell was leading the nation in Division III with eight homers before suffering a minor injury and missing the last five games (two against Chapman and all three in last weekend's Redlands series). He entered this week still stuck on eight homers and trailing the two national leaders by one and could be back in a tie for the national lead (depending on what others have done this week).
CMS got off to a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Mitchell Pike had a single and came around to score on an RBI double from Dustin Green. The Stags managed an unearned run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to close within 4-2 against Pomona-Pitzer starter Travis Rooke-Ley (Eugene, Ore.), but could get no closer.
Gentili joined Campbell in batting 3-for-5 at the plate for the Sagehens, while Rooke-Ley allowed only one earned run in seven innings as he improved to 8-2 on the year (including 6-0 in conference play, with an 0.73 ERA in seven starts).
The two teams will be back in action tomorrow at Pomona-Pitzer's Alumni Field for a doubleheader, beginning at 11 a.m.