UBC claims rare series win over Warriors
LEWISTON, Idaho – Ryan Pilgrim’s two-run single in the top of the eighth inning put the University of British Columbia ahead for good as the Thunderbirds beat Lewis-Clark State College 6-5 on Sunday at LCSC’s Harris Field.
The win was the second for UBC in the three-game series, which marked the first time since 2004 that LCSC has lost two games in a three-game series. The last time it happened was a three-game series against the University of Nevada in Reno.
UBC, 12-3 overall, beat LCSC 6-4 on Friday, but the Warriors, 10-5 overall, won Saturday’s game 12-5 to set up Sunday’s finale.
LCSC jumped out to a 3-1 lead after two innings, but couldn’t connect with the key hit when needed despite out-hitting the Thunderbirds 12-8. LCSC’s pitching staff also hurt itself with eight walks in the game.
UBC has yet to play a home game this season and will head to Pullman on Monday to face Washington State University in an exhibition game, got on the board first with a run in the top of the first. Sammie Starr, who was the Thunderbirds’ catalyst during the series, opened the game with a single off LCSC starter Michael Guerrero and scored on a double by Alex White.
The Warriors, who have yet to play a road game this season, answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the first. Josh Ashenbrenner started the rally with a one-out single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Paul Martin. Sean Halton followed with an RBI triple, his first of the season.
LCSC added two more runs in the second for a 3-1 advantage. Brian Ward reached on a throwing error and was replaced by courtesy runner Trent Bridges. Bernard Pena followed with an RBI triple and scored on a single by Rene Escobar.
UBC cut the margin to 3-2 in the fourth when Jon Syrnyk drew a leadoff walk, stole second, and went to third on catcher Ward’s throwing error on the stolen base. Mike Elias followed with an RBI single.
The Thunderbirds tied the game in the sixth when LCSC reliever Travis Woods walked two batters and Elias followed with an RBI single to right.
The score remained tied until the eighth. Starr again started a rally with a single and White followed with a bunt between the first-base line and pitcher’s mound. Woods fielded the ball and tried to throw underhand to first, but bounced the throw, while allowed Starr to reach third and White to stand on first with the error. A walked loaded the bases to set up Pilgrim’s two-run single up the middle. LCSC eventually pulled off its fourth double play of the game to get out of the inning.
The Warriors answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-4. Kawika Emsley-Pai started the rally with a single and went to third on a double by Bernard Pena. A sacrifice fly by Bridges to right field scored Emsley-Pai, but the Warriors left the tying run on third base.
UBC added an insurance run in the top of the ninth for a 6-4 advantage. Two walks set up and RBI single by Syrnyk, who was 0-for-13 in the series until that at-bat.
The Warriors made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth when Brad Melton greeted UBC closer Shawn Hetherington with a single. Josh Ashenbrenner followed with a single and when the UBC right fielder bobbled the ball, Melton took third on the error. Paul Martin then walked to load the bases with no outs. Sean Halton’s sacrifice fly scorer Melton, but Ashenbrenner and Martin had to stay at first and second. Emsley-Pai then flew out to right field, which allowed Ashenbrenner to reach third. Ward followed with a line shot, but right at UBC shortstop Starr who made the catch to end the game.
Starr finished 3-of-4 at the plate with two runs scored, while Pilgrim and Elias drove in two runs apiece.
Halton had two RBI for LCSC to raise his team-best total to 12. Melton, Ashenbrenner, Emsley-Pai and Pena all finished with two hits apiece for the Warriors.
Woods, the second of four pitchers for LCSC, took the loss. He allowed three runs (two earned) and three hits in two innings. He also walked three and struck out four. Guerrero went five innings and allowed two runs (one earned) with two walks and a strikeout.
LCSC left 10 runners stranded on base, marking the third straight game LCSC has left double-digit runners on base. For the series, LCSC stranded 36 baserunners.
The Warriors resume action on the road next weekend against the College of Idaho in Caldwell. The two teams play Saturday and Sunday, starting at 11 a.m., PDT.