Brooks, Libunao Lead Oxy Baseball to Wins Over Rutgers-Newark

More news about: Occidental
By Alex Nieves
Sports Information


LOS ANGELES — The Occidental baseball team took both games of its Saturday doubleheader against Rutgers-Newark at Anderson Field, winning 13-3 and 4-2 and bringing its overall record back to .500. The Tigers improved to 11-11 (7-5 SCIAC) while securing the series victory over the Scarlet Raiders. 

Johnathan Brooks and A.J. Libunao combined for seven RBIs on the day, supporting winning performances from starting pitchers Joseph Kling and Mitch Margolis, both of whom move to 3-2 on the season.

Brooks has now accumulated 13 hits in four games. He has gone 13-for-19 (.684) with seven RBI and three runs scored during the stretch.

Game 1: Occidental 13, Rutgers-Newark 3

The Tigers jumped out to an early 6-1 lead, scoring two runs in each of the first three innings. After being held scoreless through the fourth and fifth, Oxy's bats exploded for three runs in the sixth and four runs in the eighth.

The squad's offensive charge was led by Brooks who, after tallying seven hits in last Saturday's doubleheader at Cal Lutheran, went 5-for-5 with two RBI and one run.

Libunao broke the game open in the bottom of the first, blasting a 2-run homer to left after Victor Munoz singled of the third base bag with two outs in the frame. Libunao bolstered Brooks' effort, finishing the contest 3-for-5 with a game-high five RBI, while Munoz went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs.    

Outfielder Chris Strain and freshman designated hitter Devon DeRaad combined to go 4-for-9 with four RBI and a run.

Kling got the start on the mound for the Tigers and maintained his top-ranked numbers. The junior ace allowed just two earned runs while scattering seven hits and striking out four through six innings of work. His 2.08 ERA and 22 strikeouts rank second and 22nd in the SCIAC, respectively.

Nick Gencarelli and Michael Murray both had multi-hit games for the Scarlet Raiders. Gencarelli, like Libunao, came a triple shy of the cycle, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run. Murray was 2-for-4 with a run.

Jonathan Dominguez picked up the loss on the hill and lasted 2-plus innings after getting tagged for five earned runs on seven hits.

Game 2: Occidental 4, Rutgers-Newark 2

Following Occidental's offensive outburst in Game 1, both teams strapped in for a pitcher's duel and enjoyed long outings from their respective starters.

After allowing early homeruns to Jimmy Napolitano and Gencarelli in the second and fourth innings, Margolis settle down and went the distance, picking up 11 strikeouts and allowing just the two runs on five hits. Margolis, who entered the day ranked third in the conference with 33 strikeouts, took over the number one spot with 44. His 3.15 ERA is good for sixth in the league.

Chris Nichols pitched with a lead for a majority of the contest before eventually being pulled in the eighth after lasting 7.1 innings and giving up four earned runs on nine hit and striking out three.

After carrying a 2-0 deficit into the bottom of the sixth inning, Occidental finally broke into the scoring column on a DeRaad single to center that scored both Libunao and Munoz. DeRaad then struck again in the bottom of the eighth, driving in Riley Smith for the winning run on a sacrifice fly to left. DeRaad's three-RBI performance gave him five RBI on the day as he went 3-for-7 and tacked on a run, while Libunao completed the afternoon at 5-for-9 with five RBI and two runs.  

The next batter Strain tacked on an insurance run with a double to left that scored Munoz. Strain went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the game and 4-for-8 with two RBI on the day, while Munoz went 1-for-2 with two runs in Game 2 and 3-for-6 with four runs overall.

Vin Troisi notched the only Game 2 multi-hit performance for the Scarlet Raiders, going 2-for-4. 

The Tigers host the Scarlet Raiders (3-11) for the culminating Game 3 of the series on Sunday at 11 a.m. before opening another three-game series at SCIAC-leader Whittier next Friday at 3 p.m.