Sagehens Earn At-Large Bid To NCAA Championships

Sagehens Earn At-Large Bid To NCAA Championships

Tournament Home Page (Concordia University)

Claremont, Calif. - The Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championships and will open play at Concordia (Texas) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) against Texas-Tyler.

Pomona-Pitzer will be the four seed in the six-team double-elimination regional and will play in the third of three opening round games. Top-seeded Linfield will face sixth-seed Texas Lutheran in the first game, while second-seeded Cal Lutheran and fifth-seeded Trinity (Texas) will play in the second game.

The Sagehens earned their sixth NCAA Division III bid since 2000 and their first as an at-large team, coming in second in the SCIAC in both the regular season and the postseason tournament to Cal Lutheran. The bid is also the first at-large bid for the SCIAC since Cal Lutheran earned one in 2009. 

The last time Pomona-Pitzer appeared in the NCAA Tournament was 2010, when the seven current seniors in their freshmen seasons. Pomona-Pitzer played in the regionals in both 2009 and 2010 as the SCIAC champion and went 2-2 both seasons. The Sagehens also earned bids in 2002, 2003 and 2007 and went 1-2 in all three of those trips to the postseason.

Pomona-Pitzer has been led all year by its senior outfield, as well as a versatile sophomore. Seniors Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.), who is hitting .384 with 35 RBI, and Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.), who is .389 with 37 RBI, were both first-team All-SCIAC selections and have combined for 483 hits in their careers (Munzer with 250, Gentili with 233). Fellow senior Mike Moyer (Oakland, Calif.) has been the team's leadoff hitter and is hitting .313, while ranking among the nation's leaders in runs scored with 55.

Sophomore Jake Bruml (San Mateo, Calif.), meanwhile, has thrived in a dual role as the team's top pitcher and No. 3 hitter. He is 7-4 on the mound with a 3.15 ERA, and has a career record of 14-4 in his first two seasons. At the plate, he is hitting .359 with four homers and a team-leading 38 RBI.

This year's Sagehens team had to overcome some major injury problems to qualify, as two of their top three starters were lost from the rotation midway through the year, freshman Simon Rosenbaum (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) and freshman Cameron Yen (Placentia, Calif.). Yen returned for very limited duty late in the year, throwing one inning in relief in the SCIAC Championship game.

The Sagehens also were without last year's closer, senior Guy Stevens (Lafayette, Calif.) for almost the entire year, before he returned for an inning in the regular season finale, while starting catcher Travis Bowers (Palo Alto, Calif.) was injured midway through the year and returned to start one game as a designated hitter in the postseason.  

The last time Pomona-Pitzer made the NCAA Tournament, they also opened with Texas-Tyler in 2010 at a regional hosted by Linfield. The Sagehens jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and went on to a 12-6 win. Moyer was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Munzer had a pair of RBI in that contest. The Sagehens then defeated Linfield 10-4 behind two home runs from Munzer (Gentili was also 2-for-5) to start out the regionals with a 2-0 record.

Linfield won the rematch 10-0, although Stevens was very effective in relief (two hits in 5.2 innings), and the Sagehens were then eliminated 6-5 by Mississippi College on an unearned run in the ninth after rallying from a 5-0 deficit, as Munzer went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Gentili was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

For more information about the regional, visit the home page at Concordia's website here: Tournament Home Page