Cruikshank's blast highlights Warrior doubleheader
SALEM, Ore. – In his first start of the season, Kyle Cruikshank hit a grand slam to help the Warriors take both games of a doubleheader against Corban College on Thursday. The Lewis-Clark State College baseball team defeated Corban 8-3 in the first game, and 9-2 in the second.
If someone had told Cruikshank that he was going to watch a four-run homerun sail over the wall in his debuting start as a Warrior, he probably would not have guessed that it would be him trotting around the bases. Listed only as pitcher on LCSC’s roster, and started his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery last season, Cruikshank played right-field and was an unlikely but productive piece of the Warriors’ offense in game two on Thursday.
Lewis-Clark State enjoyed strong pitching in both games, and hit well enough to capitalize on the 11 walks Corban pitchers issued.
Sean Halton played a key part in the Warriors’ run production in the first game. Halton’s RBI double helped bring three runs across in the first inning, his RBI single brought the score to 6-0 by the top of the fourth, and his double down the left-field line in the eighth plated the Warriors’ final run of the game. Halton went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs in the first game, and finished with four hits and four RBI on the day.
Besides Halton, three other Warriors had multiple hits. Kyle Melton and Josh Ashenbrenner combined to score five runs and both went 2-for-3 in the first game, and Ben Ornelas drove in three runs and was 2-for-4 in the second game.
In the series opener, Dustin Willis came out of the bullpen and pitched 5 1/3 innings to earned the win and improve to 4-0 on the season. Willis struck out one and surrendered four hits and one run—his first earned run in his six appearances this year.
Corban had only six hits in the first game. Mitch Riddle had two hits and two RBI, and Craig Spicer had two hits and two runs. Spicer finished with four hits on the day.
In the second game, LCSC used timely hitting to score four runs in the fifth inning and four runs in the seventh to outpace Corban which was again being held down by the Warrior pitching staff.
Ornelas cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the fifth, and Cruikshank cleared the bases and plated himself with a homer in the seventh.
Matt Stabelfeld started the game and went four innings to strikeout four and give up one run (Stabelfeld now leads the Warriors with 29 strikeouts in 30 innings), Tyler Knigge struck out two and surrendered a run in his three innings of work to earn the win, and Henry Buenrostro slammed the door shut with four strikeouts in the eighth and ninth.
The win improves the Warriors to 15-6 on the season and extends their winning streak to four. Corban, which is now 0-6 against LCSC this year, falls to 9-17 overall.
Lewis-Clark State and Corban meet again on Friday in the final game of the three-game series.