LOS ANGELES — Bryan Smith got the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning as the No. 8 Occidental baseball team rallied for its 22nd win in its last 23 games.
Trailing 1-0 with three outs left, Oxy scored two runs to beat Puget Sound 2-1 in the first game of a three-game non-conference series between the teams this weekend.
The Tigers, which had a 14-game winning streak earlier this year, improve their current unbeaten stretch to nine games.
Devon DeRaad, who was named to the D3Baseball.com Team of the Week, started Oxy's rally with a lead off double and then moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Derek Sun. Eamon McNeil then hit a routine grounder to third, but Nathan Backes booted it and air-mailed his throw to first base, giving Marks an easy pass home for the tying run, while moving McNeil into scoring position.
Smith followed it up with a single through the left side, sending McNeil screaming around third. As UPS left fielder Cal Muramaru came charging hard in anticipation of his throw to the plate, he pulled up too early and the ball went underneath his glove, eliminating any chance he had of getting McNeil at the plate.
The Tigers are getting used to close games and aren't afraid of a deficit. Oxy has won seven games by just one run and pulled off 10 comebacks when trailing after the fifth inning.
Oxy starter Scott Ericksen had an outstanding performance, going 7.2 innings with seven strikeouts and just one earned run.
UPS starter Collin Maier was just as good, throwing 8.1 innings with four strikeouts and one earned run.
Josh Cohen came on to pitch 1.1 scoreless innings in relief, earning the win for Oxy.
UPS reliever Kian Kurokawa was charged with the loss.
Season Impact: The Tigers improve to 24-5 overall and are currently in first place in the SCIAC at 18-3.
UPS falls to 15-19 overall.
Chasing History: Oxy is chasing the program's first SCIAC Championship since 1982 and looking to get back to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.
7 Remaining SCIAC Games:
4/22 - Cal Lutheran (13-3 SCIAC)
4/23 - at Cal Lutheran
4/23 -at Cal Lutheran
** the final four regular season SCIAC games are determined by standings at that point in the season **
Next Game: The Tigers and Loggers play Game 2 of their series and doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram