During the sleepy-eyed innings Friday night, with the score tied at 4-4, all that was needed to end this game was one colossal swing. And the Lewis-Clark State sluggers were painfully aware of that, hacking at pitches like lumberjacks near quitting time.
So in the 11th, the Warriors called on Justin Fuller to pinch-hit. He was the perfect antidote for over-swinging: The 175-pound junior entered with a 19-game hitting streak, which he built with table-setting singles and occasional doubles. Of anyone on the L-C roster, Fuller would be the most content to start a rally.
So he stepped to the plate ... and promptly ended the game with one colossal swing. Fuller's dramatic, if unlikely, homer to right gave the Warriors a 5-4 triumph over Albertson at Harris Field.
The jolt extended Fuller's team-best hitting tear to 20 games -- but it was just his second home run of the season.
"I try to spray it around the field a little bit," said Fuller, who has seen limited action lately because of a sore shoulder. "I don't hit a lot of home runs; I let other dudes do that. I'm not big enough for that."
Fuller led off the 11th in place of Ryan Stevenson. Facing Albertson reliever Clayton Hubbard, Fuller jumped ahead 3-1 in the count. Hubbard made him look bad at that point, as Fuller chased a dying changeup.
But when Hubbard next offered an inside fastball, Fuller took a lashing left-handed cut at it. The high blast cleared the right-field wall by a few feet.
Despite the result, Fuller insisted he wasn't thinking about a walkoff blow.
"I just go up there and try to do what the team needs from me," the Alaskan native said. "They needed me to get on right there ... and it just so happened I got a pitch I could handle."
The Coyotes posted two runs in the fifth to snatch a 4-2 lead. LCSC forged a tie in the seventh, as Allen Balmer roped a shot to right that hugged the inside of the foul line. Two runs scored, and Balmer legged out a triple.
A walk and a hit batsman brought Brandon Morris to the plate with the bases loaded. But the Warriors' top home run hitter golfed a high pop to the pitcher.
That started a trend. Over the next three frames, L-C put just one man on base and popped out five times.
"We were a little selfish today," Warriors coach Ed Cheff said. "In the eighth, ninth, 10th innings, we're trying to end the game with one swing rather than two swings. One guy gets on and another guy drives him in -- we kind of got away from that."
After a string of stellar outings, LCSC starter Carlos Fisher has a subpar showing. The rocket-armed junior was tagged for eight hits and four earned run in five innings.
But the Warriors' relievers -- Derek Landavazo and Nick Seely -- were dynamite. They each worked three no-run, no-hit innings, as Albertson put just three men on base during the final six innings.
"Our bullpen was good; I liked our bullpen a lot," Cheff said. "Landavazo just took a big stride tonight, and so did Seely."
NOTES -- LCSC's Josh Celigoy, who had missed time of late with a wrist injury, hyperextended his elbow when tagging out an Albertson baserunner at first base in the opening inning. The injury "might not be real bad, (but) bad enough," Cheff said. "It might be a week or 10 days." ... LCSC shortstop Derek Bruce committed a throwing error in the fifth, which broke a 22-game errorless streak. ... With the victory, the Warriors improved to 40-7, marking the 27th time in Cheff's 28 seasons that they've reached the 40-win plateau. ... These teams will close out their season series with two more games today and Sunday at Boise's Memorial Stadium. L-C has won all three of their meetings thus far.