LOS ANGELES — Occidental's baseball team won its opening SCIAC series after splitting their doubleheader against the Whittier Poets on Saturday.
Game 1: Whittier 5, Occidental 2
The Poets jumped out to an early one-run lead, however, the Tigers answered back with two of their own in the fourth. Michael Netzel got on with a sharp base hit into right field and Jack Brancheau drove him in with a double in the left-center gap. Clean-up hitter, Eamon McNeil followed up with a lined shot into left field, giving the Tigers a two-one lead.
After the fourth, Oxy looked stifled at the plate - collecting only six hits in the game and failing to score for the remainder of the contest.
The bright-spot of the game came on the hill for the Tigers, where senior, Jeff Oki threw a solid five innings, allowing only one run and striking out four.
Brancheau and Jake Fredrickson finished with two hits and a double. Netzel and McNeil both went 1-4.
Game 2: Occidental 4, Whittier 3
Nolan McCarthy, a sophomore from Portland, Ore., toed the hill for the Tigers. He tossed a solid 5.1 innings, allowing only three hits and two runs, while striking out four.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the second from a two-out, two-RBI single from Derek Sun. The inning opened with a line drive up the middle from McNiel and was followed by a Bryan Smith double that left runners on second and third. With two outs and two strikes, Derek Sun delivered a clutch two RBI single to put the Tigers ahead early.
Oxy struck again in the fifth with the help of a Michael Netzel double and solid situational hitting from Reid Gibbs to advance him to third. A Brancheau sac-fly drove in Netzel extending the lead to three. JP Flores tallied across another run in the sixth with a beautiful squeeze bunt to plate Smith.
The bullpen came up big for the Tigers allowing only one run in three and two thirds innings of work. Matthew Geiger and Cade Denyer picked up big outs for the Tigers protecting a one-run lead despite coming in with runners on base.
Michael Netzel was nothing but electric in his two innings of work on the mound. All six of the outs he collected were strike outs and two of them were with the bases loaded. Netzel went 1-4 at the plate, played sparkling defense at third base, and picked up a save in the win for the Tigers.
McNeil finished the game 3-4 with a run scored, Sun and Smith both finished the game 1-3, and JP Flores ended 1-2 with an RBI.
Season Impact: Oxy improves to 2-1 in SCIAC play and 2-2 overall. The Poets begin the season 1-2 in conference play and 4-3 overall.
Looking Ahead: The boys of Tiger baseball are back at it this President's Day (2/19) at Anderson Field against Bates College. They face the defending National Champion Cal Lutheran this coming Friday (2/23) in Thousand Oaks.