CLAREMONT, Calif. – Whitworth rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Pomona-Pitzer 8-3 in the opener of a three-game non-conference baseball series on Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Pirates improved to 3-1 while the Sagehens fell to 4-4.
First baseman Cade Hulse doubled in single runs in the first and third innings to stake Pomona-Pitzer to an early 2-0 lead. But then Whitworth starting pitcher Hugh Smith settled down and gave up only one more run over his seven innings of work.
The Pirates took the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Ryan Bird, the designated hitter, drove in the first run with an RBI single. Left fielder JT Phelan followed with a two run double to put Whitworth ahead.
In the fifth inning centerfielder Daniel Casanova doubled in Caleb Hughes and advanced to third on the throw home. That allowed him to score on Joel Condreay's ground ball to give the Pirates a two-run rally.
Tanner Nishioka homered in the bottom of the seventh off of Hughes to pull the Sagehens to within 5-3.
But Whitworth put the game away with three more runs in the ninth inning. Hughes, Condreay and Matt Nelson all had RBI singles with the bases loaded to account for the runs.
Smith improved to 1-1 this season after allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings. He struck out five batters and didn't allow a walk. Kelly Fitzpatrick worked the final two innings and did not allow a hit to pick up his second save of the year.
David Gerics started on the mound for the Sagehens and fell to 1-1 after he allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings. Three different players completed the game on the hill for Pomona-Pitzer.
The Pirates and Sagehens will complete the series with a doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 11:00 am.