PULLMAN -- Lewis-Clark State couldn't have expected this to be quick, let alone easy. Its visits to Bailey-Brayton Field generally don't pan out that way.
Tuesday's didn't either. But following this, the afternoon opener of a curious two-venue, two-opponent doubleheader, the Warriors were a victory better off and only fashionably late.
They subdued the Cougars 7-5 in a game that featured 22 hits, eight pitching changes, five pinch-hitters, four position substitutions and three calls disputed by L-C coach Ed Cheff in WSU's two-run third inning.
All told, this encompassed 3 hours, 11 minutes, leaving the Warriors little leeway for transition -- driving back to Lewiston and preparing for an encounter with Azusa Pacific, which was scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.
But L-C maneuvered efficiently under pressure; the first pitch was delayed only seven minutes (see accompanying story).
The same could be said for how the Warriors dealt with WSU, which has been on an offensive tear for much of the past two weeks. Four L-C pitchers limited the Cougars to 10 hits, their lowest total since mid-March, and Nick Seely threw 23 innings of nearly perfect final relief.
The senior right-hander's only defect was the three batters he plunked with pitches, including two in the ninth inning. But among his four strikeouts was one of Zach Franklin -- on a called third strike, no less -- to end the game with Cougars on second and third.
"Good and bad," Cheff said of Seely's performance, which earned him his third save of the season. "Those hit batters and that wild pitch (the first delivery to Franklin sailed to the backstop and advanced the baserunners into scoring position) were atrocious, but he came back with quality pitches."
That preserved an advantage provided by Brandon Morris, who belted a pinch-hit home run off James Freeman (1-1) to lead off the L-C seventh then closed out the game's scoring with an RBI single in the eighth.
WSU, which trailed 3-0 in the third inning and 5-2 through 5 1/2, pulled even with three runs in the sixth, the first coming on the season's ninth home run by Grant Richardson, who Tuesday morning was named Pac-10 player of the week (see accompanying story).
Richardson's one-out walk and Zach McAngus' two-out single created another WSU threat in the seventh, which Seely exacerbated by hitting Franklin, the first batter he faced after relieving Ben Newton (2-1).
But then Seely struck out pinch-hitter Zach Kosturos -- on three pitches.
"I had some pretty good stuff, but I also threw some B.S. pitches," said Seely, who sat out last year with arm problems and missed a good chunk of his junior season for the same reason. "Fortunately I threw good ones when I needed to."
Tyler Best drove in three runs for the Warriors, two on a third-inning double that followed a fielding error by McAngus, the Cougar third baseman. Best also bashed his team-leading seventh home run to open the sixth.
WSU starter Brett Sommer "kept us close, but it really hurt giving them those four outs in the third inning," said Cougar coach Tim Mooney, whose team, now 19-9 and 1-1 against L-C, resumes Pac-10 play with a three-game series at Washington beginning Thursday. "We kept battling, but we didn't make the play in the field when we needed to."
Kaeo Rubin also homered for the Cougars; his two-run shot in the second off L-C starter Kyle Allen extended his hitting streak to 12 games.