PASADENA — Caltech's last baseball game before a nonconference matchup against visiting Oregon Tech on Friday saw the Beavers defeat Pacifica last Saturday in the back end of a doubleheader that ended a 228-game losing streak dating back to 2003. The end of the skid brought a flood of attention to the program, including notice from the likes of ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports West.
“It’s been interesting. It definitely has,” Caltech’s first-year head coach Matthew Mark said of the spotlight. “It’s awesome for the program.”
However, Oregon Tech, out of the NAIA’s Cascade Collegiate Conference, would not allow Caltech to use them for another noteworthy victory. The Owls jumped out early and never looked back, using three huge innings and 21 hits to down the Beavers, 22-3, Friday afternoon on Caltech’s North Field.
“Definitely coming off our win Saturday we wanted to keep it going,” catcher Brian Penserini said, “but Oregon Tech was a tough team and they put a lot of hits together.”
In the first inning, Oregon Tech (3-1) jumped on Caltech pitcher Jerome Skelly, who was making his first start of the young season, for seven runs on six hits. Nine of the first 10 Owl batters reached base, with the biggest damage coming on a three-run double by designated hitter Tyler Conklin with no outs.
“I’ve talked time and time again about our guys taking the fight to people,” Mark said. “I don’t think that was necessarily the case [today]. I think we kind of sat back. Maybe it was a combination of me not getting them ready or maybe a combination of everything that happened this week leading up to it.”
Skelly and the rest of the Beavers (1-2) had a strong fourth inning. The sophomore pitcher had two of his three strikeouts in the frame as he sat the Owls down in order. In the bottom half, Penserini led off with an inside-the-park home run that shot on a line just over the right fielder’s glove and rolled until it cared to stop, as the North Field has no devoted outfield fence, giving it plenty of real estate.
“The pitcher was throwing away all day and I knew I had to hit something to the opposite field,” Penserini said of the fastball he hit for the round-tripper.
The rest of the offense came in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Albie Lavin hit a single back up the middle to drive in two. For the game, the junior went two of three with the two RBIs and was hit by a pitch.
The Owls were held scoreless after the opening frame, until the fifth inning when they scored five runs on three hits, aided by three Caltech errors. The visitors then poured it on in the eighth inning, turning eight hits into nine runs.
“It was just a bad game,” Mark said, “no ifs, ands or buts. Learn from it and go forward.”