Ornelas' single lifts Warriors in the 11th
LEWISTON, Idaho – Ben Ornelas’ RBI single with one out in the bottom of the 11th innings helped the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team come back from an early five-run deficit to defeat the College of Idaho 6-5 on Sunday and help the Warriors sweep the four-game home-and-home series.
LCSC, ranked No. 6 in the NAIA, improved to 29-9 on the season, while the Coyotes fell to 25-17.
The first two games of the series were played in Caldwell and the final two were at Harris Field, but until Sunday’s contest, it had been all LCSC. The Warriors outscored College of Idaho 49-15 in the first three games and had collected 54 hits.
Sunday’s game, however, looked like a much different game when the Coyotes scored five times in the third inning for a 5-0 lead. The Coyotes took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but a throwing error allowed the game-tying run to score and force extra innings.
The Coyotes did their damage off LCSC sophomore pitcher Tyler Knigge, who surrendered the five run on five hits and two walks in 2.1 innings. A walk and a single set up a two-run double by Cody Brubaker with one out to start the scoring in the third, while Jake Miller singled to set up a three-run home run by Brad Carlsen to center field.
That hit brought an end to the day for Knigge, but the Warrior bullpen picked it up from there. Three Warrior pitchers went the final 8.2 innings and allowed only five hits and two walks, and they struck out six. Nick Masters went 4.2 innings and allowed two hits, while Henry Buenrostro went two innings and gave up two hits. Freshman Zach Clanton went the final two innings and allowed one hit to improve to 4-1 on the season.
College of Idaho starter Jake Bottari kept the Warriors in check for the most part, but LCSC managed to start chipping away at the lead in the fourth inning. LCSC picked up two runs in the fourth when Josh Ashenbrenner walked and scored on a double by Brian Ward. After a single by Ornelas, Kris Miller hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 5-2.
The Warriors added two more in the seventh to make it 5-4. Rene Escobar, Kawika Emsley-Pai and Kyle Melton all singled to load the bases with no outs. Paul Martin and Ashenbrenner followed with consecutive sacrifice flies to bring in runs.
Bottari, who pitched seven innings and allowed eight hits and three earned runs, was replaced by Ben Rosen in the eighth, who then gave way to Jason Barry in the ninth. Barry, who was making his first relief appearance of the season after starting five games, hit the first batter he faced, Martin, who then went to second on a ground out by Ashenbrenner. Brian Ward was also hit by a pitch and replaced by courtesy runner Trent Bridges. Martin managed to take third on a wild pitch to put runners on first and third. On the next pitch, Bridges tried a delayed steal and the ball was thrown to second base, Bridges stopped about halfway between first and second, but Carlsen, the College of Idaho second baseman, was looking for the double steal and watching Martin at third. As soon as Carlsen caught the ball, he fired to third base, hoping to catch Martin off-guard, but his throw was well off the mark and sailed into the LCSC dugout. That allowed Martin to score and Bridges to reach third with one out. Barry managed to get out of the jam as he struck out Ornelas and got Miller to ground out.
College of Idaho put a runner on in the top of the 10th, but Ward, LCSC’s catcher, threw him out on an attempted steal. LCSC also had a baserunner get thrown out on a grounder in the 10th to ruin a scoring threat.
After the Coyotes went down in order in the 11th, LCSC rallied for the winning run when Martin singled and took second on Ashenbrenner’s sacrifice bunt. Ward was hit by a pitch, and Ornelas followed with his single through the right side on the infield and Martin easily beat the throw home from the Coyotes’ right fielder to end the game.
Ornelas and Kyle Melton had two hits apiece for LCSC, which had 12 in the game, while no player had more than one RBI. Carlsen had three hits and three RBI for College of Idaho, while Bryan Champ had two hits.
The Warriors resume play on Thursday and Friday in a three-game series against Concordia. The two teams meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday and then in a noon doubleheader on Friday, all at Harris Field. After that, LCSC hits the road for eight straight games.