Occidental’s baseball team swept Dickinson College over spring break behind some strong performances from their pitching staff. The Tigers defeated Dickinson 6–4 March 16 in the first match between the two schools before winning the second match of the day 9–1 at Anderson Field.
The first match was unusual in that Dean Abramson (senior), who started as a pitcher for Occidental, ended the game behind the plate as a catcher. The team needed Abramson, who said he is normally a relief pitcher to take charge of the position in the absence of injured catcher Jared Bauer (junior) after two innings, according to an Oxy Athletics baseball article.
Head coach of the baseball team Luke Wetmore described how crucial Abramson’s contributions have been to the team’s success.
“Dean has been the most important piece of our team in the first half,” Wetmore said via email. “He has filled in admirably in a tough spot, not having caught for years and performing the way he has is impressive.”
Abramson finished the game with two innings pitched and also managed to score a run on a run batted in (RBI) single.
Coach Wetmore explained how Nolan McCarthy (sophomore) stood out in the second match of the day. McCarthy was the starting pitcher in the game and delivered seven innings without giving up a run. The Tigers maintained this momentum and only gave up a single run at the top of the ninth inning as they closed out the 9–1 win.
McCarthy is part of a particularly strong Occidental pitching staff at the moment, according to Wetmore. The coach pointed out the important role his pitchers play in the team.
“They are the engine that drives the program during my tenure. I tell the pitching staff every year that we will go as far as they take us,” Wetmore said via email.
McCarthy, a starting pitcher, was quick to direct praise towards the relief pitchers that have been supporting him.
“Over spring break, when we play a ton of games, you need pitching and the fact that we have so much depth this year is super helpful,” McCarthy said. “You’ve really got to commend the bullpen and the work they’ve done, they’re helping us win a lot of games.”
Abramson reiterated this sentiment and pointed out that he felt the entire pitching staff was performing well across the board.
“Pitching’s definitely been our strongest aspect of our team this year,” Abramson said. “They’re doing a great job of shutting teams down and keeping the offense in striking range throughout most of the games.”
While the sweep of Dickinson was a high point for the Tigers over spring break, Abramson felt the team’s overall performance throughout the break was mixed.
“Overall, we went five and four, which I think most of us found a little disappointing,” Abramson said. “I feel like there were a couple games in there we could have won but definitely some quality wins against good opponents.”
One of these wins came against Centenary College of Louisiana, ranked number eight in the nation at the time. Despite the Tigers 4–1 win in the game, Wetmore also said that the Tigers have better to come.
“I feel like we have actually underperformed and our best baseball is ahead of us,” Wetmore said via email. “We have a few bad losses on our record and have given away too many games.”
Occidental’s five wins and four losses over the break contributed towards their current record of 13–9 overall and 7–3 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play. The Tigers currently lie in fourth in the SCIAC. The top four teams advance to the playoffs at the end of the season.
Wetmore expressed his eagerness to reach the postseason tournament this year.
“Our goal is to simply make our conference tournament, if that is as the No.1 or the No. 4 seed is irrelevant,” Wetmore said via email.
Next up for the Tigers is the first of a three-game series against the University of La Verne March 30 at Anderson Field.