After what Jose Rodriguez accomplished in his first three at-bats, Albertson opted not to mess with him in the sixth inning, when the game was still somewhat in doubt. So with baserunners on second and third, the Coyotes granted the senior infielder an intentional walk -- to get to Allen Balmer, Lewis-Clark State's leading hitter.
Not surprisingly, Balmer lashed a two-run double. And two batters later, Brandon Morris socked his team-leading 11th home run, a three-run belt that landed well back in the left-field seats.
While Albertson couldn't buy a key hit, the Warriors didn't go long between them. Operating at peak offensive efficiency, they flattened the Coyotes 13-3 on Thursday night at Harris Field in the opener of a split-venue four-game series.
In winning its 11th straight game, L-C (39-7) unloaded 14 hits on the Coyotes, eight of the extra-base variety. Albertson (23-26) had 12 hits, but stranded the same number of baserunners, eight of them in scoring position.
"When we have guys setting the table, chances are the outcome's going to be good," said Rodriguez, who went 4-for-4 with an RBI double in the first inning and added two-run singles in both the third and fourth. "There's no need in trying to do too much; we've got a lot of guys getting the job done."
That included Kyle Allen, whose seven-inning start was notable for its endurance -- he threw 126 pitches -- if not its dominance -- along with registering 10 strikeouts, he allowed nine hits and walked two. Four of those hits came in succession in Albertson's three-run fourth inning.
"He didn't throw a great game, but he threw well enough," L-C coach Ed Cheff said of the junior left-hander, who goes to 7-1. "Allen battles, and sometimes that's all it takes to keep a game from getting away from you."
The contest slipped out of the competitive realm in the sixth, which began with a Tyson Dietz leadoff single. Albertson starter Brad Burrow then plunked Anthony Slagle and a Justin Fuller sacrifice moved both runners up.
Burrow (7-3) didn't even make a pitch to Rodriguez; NAIA rules allow for automatic advancement when a batter is to be intentionally walked. Then his second delivery to Balmer was lined into the right-field corner, scoring Dietz and Slagle.
After Colin Smith, who relieved Burrow, struck out Tyler Best, Morris was brought in to pinch hit against the left-hander, who graduated from Grangeville High in 2002. Morris launched a 1-0 pitch that landed halfway up the left-field bleachers.
"We've got to figure out a way to keep him in the lineup every day," Cheff said of Morris, who has homered six times in April. "We might be moving guys around the next few games."
NOTES -- Fuller, who this weekend will see only designated-hitter duty because of a sore right shoulder, doubled in the second inning to push his hitting streak to 19 games. Morris' streak goes to 12. ... Shortstop Derek Bruce did not play Thursday because of muscle spasms. He is expected to return to the lineup today. ... The teams will play today at 6:30 p.m., then the series will move to Boise's Memorial Stadium for games Saturday and Sunday.