Anyone enamored with statistics and/or streaks had to find this game particularly appealing. It marked another milestone for Ed Cheff, moved Justin Fuller closer to a program record and enhanced Lewis-Clark State's dominance -- against all comers as of late, and British Columbia over the past two years.
The Warriors' 7-4 triumph Tuesday afternoon at Harris Field completed their second consecutive season-series sweep of British Columbia. L-C has won 13 straight in this rivalry and 17 in a row overall.
On a personal level, this gave Cheff his 1,400th victory in 28 years as L-C's coach. And the Warriors, now 45-7, have won 45 over more games in 23 of those seasons.
The player most responsible Tuesday was Fuller, who extended the Cheff era's fourth-longest hitting streak in an especially dynamic manner. Fuller, who singled in his first at-bat -- he has now hit safely in 24 consecutive games -- ultimately produced half of L-C's 10 hits and drove in four runs, three on a second-inning homer.
"Our guys are in a little bit of a lull; we sometimes go through this in early May," said Cheff, speculating that the source may stem from the academic demands in the school's rapidly dwindling spring semester.
"But Fuller just keeps hitting. He's getting good ABs and he's making things happen."
Fuller's home run keyed the only Warrior-like outburst of the day, a five-run second inning. On a 1-1count, he drove a misplaced slider from UBC starter Dan Osachoff (4-3) over the center-field wall for his fourth homer of the year.
"I'm just looking for mistake pitches," said Fuller, the fluid-fielding second baseman who spent most of April at designated hitter because of a sore right shoulder. "Hopefully (the hits) will keep coming. (The streak's) been fun; it's probably been harder on my family than it has on me."
Fuller, the second Warrior this season to pick up five hits in a game, added an RBI single in L-C's two-run sixth. He is three games shy of L-C's top hitting streak, established by John McAninch in 1995.
In comparison to the previous three games in this series -- all were decided by nine or more runs -- Tuesday's outcome reflected favorably on British Columbia, 29-22. With four regular-season games remaining and a NAIA Region I tournament berth looming, the Thunderbirds responded to both of L-C's offensive flurries (they scored twice in the top of the third and once in the seventh) to keep things reasonably close.
Their first three runs came off L-C starter Aaron Mills, who worked five unremarkable innings (five hits, three runs, three walks, three strikeouts) in moving to 5-0.
UBC's final tally came unearned against Carlos Fisher, who yielded one hit while striking out five over the final four innings to earn his first save.
Fisher "threw really well, but Mills was nothing special," said Cheff, whose team played its final NAIA opponent prior to the NAIA World Series, now just 23 days away. "We expect (Mills) to be one of our top guys, so he's got to throw better than he did today."
The Warriors will play host to NCAA Division III Whitworth in a three-game weekend series beginning Friday.