Claremont, Calif. - The 16th-ranked Pomona-Pitzer Baseball team will host a three-game series against top-ranked Linfield this Friday and Saturday at Alumni Field, highlighting NCAA Division III week.
The two teams will meet in a single game on Friday at 3 p.m. and then play a doubleheader on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Pomona-Pitzer comes in with a 22-7 record on the season (15-6 in the SCIAC) and is ranked No. 16 by the American Baseball Coaches Association. The Sagehens are also No. 22 in the latest D3baseball.com poll. Linfield, meanwhile, has held the No. 1 spot in the ABCA for the last four weeks, and No. 2 in the D3baseball.com poll, behind only Kean (N.J.).
The Sagehens won't be in unfamiliar territory hosting one of the best teams in Division III. Kean actually visited Pomona-Pitzer last year as the No. 2 ranked team in the D3baseball.com poll, and the Sagehens earned a 4-2 win in that contest. Pomona-Pitzer was also ranked No. 1 in the nation themselves in 2009, the first of two straight years that the Sagehens traveled to Linfield for the NCAA Division III West Regionals.
Pomona-Pitzer went 2-2 at both NCAA regionals in McMinnville, splitting two games with Linfield in 2010 (the two schools did not face each other in 2009). In the first game against the Wildcats, the Sagehens won 10-4 behind two home runs from current senior Erik Munzer (Beverly Hills, Calif.), who was a freshman at the time (then-senior James Kang also hit two homers). Linfield won the rematch 10-0 as Robert Vaughn held the Sagehens to four hits, while striking out 13, before the Sagehens were eliminated by Mississippi College 6-5.
Heading into this weekend's series, senior right fielder Nick Gentili (Glendale, Calif.) leads the Sagehens in batting average at .402, to go along with four homers and 28 RBI, while freshman Simon Rosenbaum (Los Altos Hills, Calif.) is hitting .398 with four homers and 29 RBI (to go with a 5-1 record and a 2.02 ERA on the mound).
Sophomore Jake Bruml also ranks among the team leaders in hitting (.375, 1 HR, 25 RBI) and pitching (6-1, 2.66 ERA). Sophomore third baseman E.J. Lopez is 8-8 stealing bases (Gentili is close behind at 7-7 and Munzer is 7-10), while junior Robert Weller (Irvine, Calif.) leads with five saves.
Linfield, which is coached by former Major League third baseman Scott Brosius, has dominant pitching and hitting, which you would expect from the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Chris Haddeland (7-1, 1.02) and Aaron Thomassen (7-0, 1.18) anchor the starting rotation with earned run averages among the nation's best. As a team, the Wildcats have only allowed two home runs all season.
Offensively, the top of the Wildcats order is dangerous, with Tim Wilson (.430) and Kramer Lindell (.429) both well over .400. Nick Fisher is .396 with three homers and 25 RBI, while Jake Wylie is .368 with five homers and 45 RBI. Linfield also doesn't make many mistakes, as its .976 team fielding percentage can attest.
Sagehens.com will provide live video for the whole series, as well as live stats and Twitter updates (@Sagehens) to help fans follow along. Links to live stats and video can be found at the below link, or by clicking on the "Live Broadcasts" button on the front page of sagehens.com: