Burke, LCSC makes impressive debut with 18-1 win over Corban
LEWISTON, Idaho – Senior third-baseman Brian Burke hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in eight runs while senior second baseman Josh Ashenbrenner had three extra-base hits and four RBI to power the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team to an 18-1 season-opening win over Corban College in the Regence BlueShield of Idaho Tournament at LCSC’s Harris Field on Friday.
Burke, who earned first-team NAIA All America honors last season at Kansas Wesleyan, made his Warrior and season debuts memorable by finishing one RBI short of tying the school record. Burke, who also had three extra-base hits, drove in a run in the fourth inning with a double and then connected for a grand slam to right-center field off the first pitcher from reliever Mike McKay in the seventh inning. In the eighth, again against McKay, he put the first pitch over the left-center field wall for a three-run shot to complete the Warrior scoring.
Burke finished the day 3-for-5 with five runs scored. He also drew a walk.
Ashenbrenner, who went 3-for-5 with four runs scored, put LCSC ahead 4-0 in the third inning with a three-run home run to right-center field. He drove in a run during LCSC’s three-run fourth inning with a double to left-center. He also had a double to right-center in the eighth, which set up Burke’s three-run blast.
The 17-run difference is LCSC’s largest margin of victory in a season opener and put the Warriors at 29-5 in openers under veteran coach Ed Cheff.
The Warriors pounded out 18 hits in the contest – half for extra bases – and scored at least one run in every inning but two.
Just as impressive were pitcher Tyler Knigge, a junior from Lewiston, and Tim Stuvland, a senior from nearby Potlatch. The two combined on a five-hitter and allowed only one unearned run. Knigge picked up the win with five innings of one-hit ball. He allowed one unearned run and struck out five. He also retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced. Stuvland pitched the final four innings and allowed four hits and a walk. He also struck out one to earn the save.
LCSC took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Kawika Emsley-Pai reached on an error and was replaced by courtesy runner Kevin Lovelace, who scored on a double by Pat Murray.
The Warriors made it 5-0 in the third on Ashenbrenner’s three-run home run and a dropped fly ball, one of four errors by Corban on the day.
LCSC added three in the fourth for an 8-0 lead. Todd Muecklisch started the one-out rally with a walk and scored on a double by Ashenbrenner. Burke followed with an RBI double and Emsley-Pai singled in Burke.
Corban picked up its only run in the fifth when Kyle Taylor reached second base on a dropped fly ball to right field. After going to third on a wild pitch, Taylor came in on a sacrifice fly by Luke Balbas.
LCSC made it 9-1 in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Emsley-Pai, who along with Murray finished with two RBI.
LCSC then broke the game open in the seventh with Burke’s grand slam and an RBI double by Murray to make it 14-1.
An RBI single by Muecklisch and Burke’s three-run blast in the eighth completed the scoring.
The Warriors return to action in the three-day round-robin tournament by playing Concordia at 10 a.m. and College of Idaho at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.