Warriors maul Mountaineers; L-C pitchers get a good workout in 11-5
victory over Eastern Oregon
Copyright of The Trib
By MATT BANEY
OF THE TRIBUNE
After pitching the first four innings of Friday
night's game, Lewis-Clark State pitcher Sal Aguilar went to the bullpen. To
throw more pitches.
It was an only-at-LCSC moment. In mid-April, most NAIA teams are trying
to keep their starting pitchers as rested as possible. But the Warriors are
scrambling to keep their hurlers busy.
"It's just the way we do it," L-C coach Ed Cheff said. "With a lot of
teams that play in conferences, those three starters go whatever they can
go. But if you're trying to develop a 10- or 11-man pitching staff (and) win
a national tournament, you go about it differently."
Here's what wasn't different: The Warriors beat Eastern Oregon. Their
11-5 victory was the opener of a three-game, three-day series at Harris
Field with the frequent visitors from LaGrande.
Unlike every other team in the country, LCSC knows it has a guaranteed
spot in the NAIA World Series in late May. So the Warriors have the luxury
of developing a large cache of pitchers.
LCSC sent three men to the mound -- Aguilar, then Nate Kuhns for three
innings, then Austin Weilep for the last two. Kuhns was the most effective
of the bunch, allowing no runs, one hit and two walks while striking out
The Mountaineers (6-27, losers of 17 straight) did enjoy some success
against Aguilar and Weilep. Their most productive episode came in the ninth,
when they pinned three runs on Weilep to make the final score more
But the Warriors (30-6) had this win secured in the first inning. On EOU
pitcher Brandon Ferguson's first two pitches, Nic Benton and Justin Fuller
each swatted hits. Ryan Stevenson then singled, followed by Josh Celigoy's
Allen Balmer later blooped an RBI single, and Matt Vogel jolted a two-run
triple off the right-field wall. The Warriors led 5-0 at the end of the
Brandon Morris, L-C's top home run (nine) and RBI (38) producer, made his
first appearance in the field this season. The senior -- who had been DHing
because of a groin pull, among other ailments -- played first base.
"It's about time," Morris said. "I'm healthy enough to try to get out
there. It feels good to be back out there. I'm like a ballplayer now."
Morris was tested in the first inning, when second baseman Justin Fuller
bounced a relay throw to him on a possible double play. Morris wasn't able
to pick it out of the dirt.
Had he not been making his debut in the field, would Morris have made the
"Yeah, yeah," he said. "The more you see, the easier it gets. I think the
more reps I get, the better I'll be at first."
These team will meet in a single game today at 1 p.m.
NOTES -- The Mountaineers were most effective when they swung early in
counts. Of their 12 hits, six came on the first pitch they saw -- including
Kyle Kirsch's solo homer to lead off the second. ... Casey Held, a Pullman
High graduate, pitched 53 innings of relief for EOU. The right-handed junior
allowed eight hits, six earned runs and five walks while striking out two.
... The Warriors have added another game to their schedule. They'll face
Whitworth on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Spokane's Avista Stadium.