By Steve Marovich, Part-Time Assistant to the Director of Athletic Communications
Maybe the Red Men should play their entire baseball schedule in Arizona. Carthage (2-0) ran its winning streak in Tucson, Ariz., to eight games on Sunday with a 15-5 pummeling of the California Institute of Technology (3-6) at the Kino Sports Complex. The Red Men won their final six games on last year's spring trip to the same location.
Carthage jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Cal Tech starting pitcher Max Popken and reliever Matthew Szedlock. The Red Men put two runners on base with one out before Vince Schwartz singled in the first run. Carthage proceeded to load the bases, and Myles Farley was hit by a pitch to force in the second run. Ben Levicki reached on an infield error to drive in the third run, and Johnny Belskis launched a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. Farley then scored on the front end of a double steal, with Levicki taking second. One batter later, Colton Klein singled in Levicki to make it a 6-0 game.
Cody Phelps scored on an infield error in the second to up the lead to 7-0. The Beavers scored twice in the fourth inning to cut the margin to 7-2, but the Red Men came right back with a pair in the top of the fifth. Ricky Bergstrom singled in the first run in the fifth and then scored on a double by Klein to make it 9-2. Carthage tacked on two more runs in the sixth on a two-run homer by Farley to push the lead to 11-2.
The Beavers tallied three in the sixth off Kyle Damon to shave the lead to 11-5. Dawson Beutler hit a two-run triple and scored on a single by Dillon Holder. A two-run single by Farley in the top of the seventh gave the Red Men an eight-run lead, 13-5.
Carthage scored twice in the eighth. Ryan Kramer singled in a run and then scored on a double by Phelps to go up by 10 runs, 15-5. Caltech failed to score in the bottom of the eighth, and the game was called due to a 10-run rule.
Klein went four-for-six for the Red Men with a double and two RBI. Farley had two hits in four trips with a home run and four RBI, while Kramer two-for-five with three runs scored, an RBI and three stolen bases. "Ryan Kramer is a very dynamic player who can do a little bit of everything," said Carthage coach Augie Schmidt IV. "We haven't had someone with that type of speed in a little while, so we're trying to be a little aggressive on the base paths. He can hit the ball, too, and he's just a really good athlete. We need him to have a big year for us."
Pitcher Matt Willett started for the Red Men but gave way to Damon in the fifth. Willett avoided too much trouble, despite allowing two runs on four hits and five walks. Damon (1-0) was credited with the win, although he surrendered three runs on three hits and walk over two innings. Ben Rietz took over in the seventh and blanked the Beavers on two hits and four strikeouts over two innings. "We had some issues with our first two pitchers not throwing enough strikes," admitted Schmidt, "but Ben Rietz threw the ball really well and gave us two solid innings. Our starters need to throw more strikes and get ahead of hitters early in the count. We haven't done that yet."
"It wasn't the best of days," concluded Schmidt, "but we drove the ball a little bit, and the guys are starting to swing a little better. We made strides today. We're not where we want to be, but we played better today than we did yesterday. We're going to have to be a whole lot better tomorrow, because we have a long day with two tough teams. We just have to take the approach that we want to get better every day."
Carthage plays a split doubleheader on Monday, taking on Wabash College at 3 p.m. MST and Aurora University at 6:30 p.m. MST.