HONG'S TRIPLES POWER OXY IN GAME 1, DOUBLE NEARLY BRINGS TIGERS BACK IN GAME 2By Michael Wells Sports Information Director
GAME 1: Occidental 7, Austin 1
LOS ANGELES — Scott Hong (Los Angles) hit a pair of RBI triples that looked like mirror images of each other, helping the Occidental College baseball team pull away from Austin College for a 7-1 win at Anderson Field on Saturday in the first game of a three-game series.
Hong hit his first triple off of the wall down the right field line following a Pedro Aldape (Sherman Oaks) solo home run, then scored on a sacrifice fly from Dan Kelley (Kirkland, Wash.), giving Oxy a three-run lead in the first inning.
In his next at bat in the sixth inning, Hong brought in Logan Allen (Atascadero) on another triple that hit nearly the same spot on the right-field wall, igniting a four-run inning for the Tigers that put the game out of reach.
"I'm really pleased. We were excited about him transferring in and he's producing," Occidental coach Luke Wetmore said of Hong who came to the Tigers from Glendale Community College. "He needs to get that front foot down. But he has great hands and great vision. He really changes our lineup."
Aldape's bomb in the first is his third of the season in just six games. The junior first baseman was a few feet from leaving the yard two more times — once in the sixth and again in the seventh — but both times a gentle breeze kept his deep fly balls inside the left-field wall.
"He's a very smart hitter," Wetmore said. "He knows when to take shots and he knows when to battle and get base hits."
Allen drove in Anthony Salsedo (Tracy) on a single down the left-field line in the bottom of the first inning for Oxy's first run.
Austin threatened a big inning in the seventh, but two defensive gems got Oxy out of the inning quickly. Riley Smith (Bellevue, Wash.) made a diving play at third base on a sharply hit infield single by Mason Leech that kept Chase Muder from scoring. Then Kelley, Allen and Aldape hooked up for a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Oxy starter Tyler Eyrich (Stevenson Ranch) improves to 2-0 for Oxy, throwing seven or more innings for the third time in three starts this season. Eyrich, who struck out five in eight innings without giving up an earned run, has been very reliable as the Tigers ace so far this season.
"He's a competitor. We spoke last time talk about how he wanted the ball on Friday. I'm pleased with how he's responded," Wetmore said. "He gave up no walks through eight. When you do that they can hit the ball and not score runs."
Joshua Throckmorton (Bedford, Mass.) pitched a scoreless ninth in his first appearance of the season to finish the game for the Tigers.
Wunner was 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI for the Tigers.
Josh Coughennower had the best day from the plate for the Kangaroos, going 3 for 4 with three singles.
GAME 2: Austin 5, Occidental 4 (7 innings)
LOS ANGELES — Scott Hong (Los Angeles) led a late-inning rally with a bases-clearing double, but was also picked off on the next play, with his run one of two needed for the Occidental College baseball team to complete a comeback from an early self-inflicted deficit.
Hong drove in Logan Allen (Atascadero), Pedro Aldape (Sherman Oaks) and Alex Strain (Sacramento) only to be caught stepping towards third for the first out of the inning just after and the Occidental College baseball team came up a run short of a five-run comeback in the sixth, losing to Austin College 5-4 in Game 2 of a double header. The game was scheduled for just seven innings.
Jonathan Brooks hit an infield single, and then Austin's Center fielder John Schulmeister mishandled a line drive from Victor Munoz (La Verne) sending Brooks to third on a play that would have scored Hong. Riley Smith (Bellevue, Wash.) singled in Brooks in what could have been the game-tying run, but was instead just the fourth.
"We were outplayed in the first five innings," Occidental baseball coach Luke Wetmore said. "We showed a lot of resilience in coming back late. We just didn't quite get there."
Up until the sixth, hits were hard to come by for the Tigers and Justin Villanueva had his best stuff going.
Dan Kelley (Kirkland, Wash.) managed the only Tigers hit off of the hard-throwing righty through four innings and Oxy as a team had just three runners reach base during the stretch.
Then fatigue began to set in for the Austin College starter.
Victor Munoz (La Verne) broke Oxy's lull with a double off the left-field wall in the fifth and Oxy nearly came all the way back in the sixth.
A pair of errors led to three unearned runs for Austin in the second. Allen, an All-West Region shortstop had a rare blemish to start the inning, then Oxy starter Joseph Kling (Kirksville, Mo.) committed a throwing error that let in Will Schommer and Coughennower, and advanced Day to third. Hendrix knocked in Day in the next at bat, bringing him home to give the Kangaroos a three-run lead.
Austin College added a pair of runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from John Schulmeister and an RBI-single by Mason Leech, opening up a 5-0 lead for Austin.
Oxy's Joseph Kling falls to 2-1 with his first loss of the season. Kling went 4.2 innings, giving up just one earned run with a pair of strikeouts.
The Tigers and the Kangaroos are back at it tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. on Anderson Field for the rubber match of the series.
- Occidental Athletic Director Jaime Hoffman fired a strike in the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1, putting together a much stronger throw than Occidental men's basketball coach Brian Newhall did last weekend when he opened up the Whitworth double header on Feb. 4 with a safe toss to the plate.
- Austin College head baseball coach Jason Rise spent two years as an assistant coach with the Occidental College baseball program under former head coach Jason Hawkins. Rise was on the staff with first-year Oxy coach Luke Wetmore.