The Westmont baseball team (15-1, 4-0 GSAC) broke out the brooms on Saturday, taking both ends of a doubleheader to finish off a four-game sweep of the Menlo Oaks (5-6-1, 0-4 GSAC). In game one, the Warriors rode a seven-spot in the fourth to a 12-4 win, and in game two, the Warriors rode a five-spot in the third to a 7-1 victory.
Since losing on opening day, Westmont has now won 15 consecutive games.
“We played good team baseball this weekend,” said Westmont head coach Robert Ruiz. “When one side of the game fell short, another side picked us up. Uncharacteristically, we made a lot of defensive errors and gave away a lot of free bases in game one, but we found ways to minimize damage.”
In game one, the Oaks got on the board first, scoring a pair of unearned runs off Bradley Heacock in the second inning.
Menlo starter Logan Snow held the Warriors scoreless through three, but fell into deep water in the bottom of the fourth. Brady Renck, who had five hits in game one, hit one of his three doubles to lead off the inning. Then, the second baseman swiped third without a throw.
Simon Reid drove in RBI number 25 on the season, when he brought in Renck with a sacrifice fly.
The very next batter was Thomas Rudinsky, who took his best swing of the young season and scorched a ball over the left field wall, tying the game at two. Later on, with two outs and the bases loaded, Ryan Desaegher broke the tie with a four-hopper that snuck through the left side, scoring both Davis Martinez and Parker O’Neil.
Renck, who started the rally, ended the rally with his second double of the inning. The second double unloaded the bases with two outs, scoring Desaegher, Finn Snyder, and Robbie Haw to make it 7-2 at the end of four.
An inning later, the Warriors added a pair on an RBI single from Martinez and on a wild pitch that brought in Paul Mezurashi.
Heacock, who became the first Warrior to pick up his fourth win of the season, scattered three hits across six innings of work. Heacock moves to 4-0 on the season, while lowering his ERA to 0.82.
“Bradley did a good job figuring out how to minimize,” noted Ruiz. “Offensively, our guys were competing against a good starter and found a way to put together a seven-run inning. Our hitters did a great job giving us a lead and some breathing room.”
Westmont added a run in the sixth, a pair in the seventh, and Zach Yates threw three innings of one-run ball to claim the third game of the series, 12-3.
In game two, Westmont starter Chad Stoner, Jr. set the tone for the club and did not look back. Stoner moved to 3-0 on the season after tossing five innings of one-run ball. The right-hander struck out seven while surrendering just three hits and one walk.
“That was one of, if not the best start Stoner has had this season,” reflected Ruiz. “He’s still developing and getting better, but today he was poised and competed with great tempo. He has a chance to keep getting better, and I thought he took a step in the right direction this weekend.”
Rudinsky quickly carried over Westmont’s momentum from game one in the bottom of the first. With two on and one out, Rudinsky hit a fly ball that carried deep into right-center field, bouncing off the wall to bring in both Haw and Mezurashi for the early advantage.
After Menlo got its lone run of the day in the second, Renck got the run back in the third when he sent a ball over the right field wall to cap off his career day at the plate.
Josh Rego joined the party in the third as well, doubling to his usual left-center field gap to score Rudinsky for Westmont’s fourth run of the game.
The Warriors’ final punch came later in the inning, when Justin Rodriguez tattooed a mammoth three-run home run over the left field. The ball was gone the moment it met Rodriguez’ bat, and not a single person in the press box could tell where it eventually came down. The home run brought in Rego and O’Neil to make it 7-1 Westmont.
After Stoner finished five innings of work, Cameron Phelps and Alex Blaszyk each tossed a scoreless inning to finish off the four-game sweep.
“Our guys picked each other up all weekend,” concluded Ruiz. “Whether it was on the mound, or at the plate, we picked each other up. You need to be able to do that to win games. The first weekend of conference can oftentimes feel like the toughest, but it was a solid start and we know we have a lot of tough opponents in front of us.”
The first-place Warriors return to action on Friday at 11 a.m. when they host The Master’s for the first of a four game series. Tickets are available on the Westmont Athletics website.
“A baseball season is like a 50-game playoff,” explained Ruiz. “You can enjoy the wins for a short amount of time, and then it’s time to put it in the rearview mirror and get back to work. We’ll enjoy this moment, but we’ll stay humble and stay hungry.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.