Jon Dennett '15 (#12, photo by Rick Dennett '77, P'15) came home with the winning run in the bottom of the 9th on a suicide squeeze bunt by Ben Hoynes '15 as the Cardinals pulled out a 13-12 victory over Rutgers-Newark Sat, March 15, in the first of three games between the teams to open Wesleyan's four-game set in California. Dennett then launched a solo home run in the top of the 12th to break a 5-5 tie in the second meeting of the teams and propel Wesleyan to a 6-5 conquest. Rutgers-Newark took the final game of the series, 8-6. Wesleyan completed the California segment of its western swing Mon., March 17, taking on Pomona-Pitzer. Wesleyan carried a 4-0 lead into the 7th inning but ran into trouble and fewll, 6-4.
The Cardinals built a 4-0 lead in the first game, only to fall behind, 6-4, in the top of the 3rd. Rutgers pushed its lead to 10-5 as the Cardinals came to bat in the bottom of the 5th. Nathan Lorentz '17 doubled in a run, and later stole home for the third run of the inning while Ellis Schaefer '17 also had an RBI hit, helping Wesleyan trim the difference to 10-8. Four runs in the bottom of the 7th spotted Wesleyan a 12-10 lead. Schaefer started the rally with a run-scoring double, followed by a Sam Goodwin-Boyd '15 RBI single to tie the game. Guy Davidson '16 gave Wesleyan the lead with an RBI double and Davidson scored the 12th run as part of a successful double-steal. Rutgers evened the count in the 8th before Dennett, who led off the 9th being hit by a pitch, moved to second on Davidson's sacrifice and stole third, scored on a well-executed bunt by Hoynes between the pitcher's mound and third base.
The second game of the series was tied 5-5 after 10 innings before being suspended due to darkness. Completed Sun., March 16, Dennett untied the game with a solo shot over the left-field fence and Gavin Pittore '16 nailed down the victory by getting out of a bit of trouble in the 12th with a strikeout after Rutgers got runners to first and third with a pair of hits. Pittore pitched the final two innings for the win. The Cardinals had 11 hits in the game, two each by Dennett, Goodwin-Boyd and Donnie Cimino '15.
Wesleyan picked up 10 hits in the third game of the series, also played March 16, led by Davidson with two hits and three RBI. Wesleyan recovered from a 3-0 deficit to grab a 5-4 lead heading into the 7th. Three Rutgers runs gave the Scarlet Raiders the lead for good, 7-5. Goodwin-Boyd's RBI in the 7th made it 7-6 but Rutgers shut the door in the last two innings, retiring the Cardinals one-two-three in both frames with four strikeouts, and tacked on an insurance run for the 8-6 final.
At Pomona, Wesleyan pushed across two runs in the 6th as Schaefer and Dennett picked up an RBI, and two more in the 7th on a Yin single and a ground ball by Schaefer misplayed by Pomona. But things unraveled for the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh as Pomona scored six runs on just three hits with two Cardinal error and four walks. Five of the six runs were unearned.
Play for the squad resumes in Arizona Wed., March 19 with a game against Carleton, beginning the final segment of the trip that includes four games back in Tucson.