Warriors kick off Guardian Tournament with 9-4 win over Linfield
LEWISTON, Idaho – Solid pitching early on from Colby Hawk and back-to-back blasts late in the game helped the Lewis-Clark State College roll to a 9-4 win over Linfield College in the opening game of the Guardian Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Tournament on Thursday.
Hawk gave up just one run in four innings pitched to earn the win, while Brian Burke smacked his fourth home run of the season in the first inning and Jake Eccles and Gino Casini added insurance with consecutive homers in the bottom of the eighth.
The win lifts the Warriors, who were ranked No. 6 in the NAIA preseason poll, to 4-1 overall, while Linfield, an NCAA D-III school, loses its unbeaten status and drops to 4-1.
To answer the run Linfield put on the board in the top of the first, Justin Hague led off the Warriors’ portion of the inning with a two-strike triple to right center. A ground out to the second baseman by Josh Ashenbrenner plated Hague, and then Burke belted a 1-2 pitch over the wall in right-center to make the score 2-1.
LCSC then used four singles and a triple from Todd Muecklisch to score a run in the third and two in the fourth to make the game 5-1.
A leadoff walk followed by a fielding error helped hand the Wildcats a run in the sixth, and then two hits and another error in the seventh helped Linfield narrow the lead to 5-4. LCSC committed a season-high four errors in the game.
In the eighth, Eccles led off the inning by sending an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right-center, and Casini hit the very next pitch out of the park in straight away center. The Warriors weren’t done adding on in the eighth, however, as three consecutive singles led to two more runs and the final score of 9-4.
Hague led the game with three hits and three runs scored, and Ashenbrenner had two hits and a game-high two RBI. The Warriors had five players with two hits and 15 hits overall.
Zach Boskovich and Ryan Larson led Linfield with two hits apiece. The Wildcats finished with eight hits and one error.
The Warriors used five pitchers in the game. Hawk struck out two and gave up two hits during his time on the mound, while Zach Clanton and Henry Buenrostro kept the Wildcats scoreless over the final two frames.
Linfield sent only two pitchers to the mound, and starter Dorn Garrett was tabbed with the loss. Garrett pitched seven innings, struck out three, and gave up 10 hits, and five runs.
The tournament continues with three games on Friday. Saint Martin’s University will face Central Washington University at 10 a.m., Saint Martin’s and LCSC will square off at 12:30 p.m., and then Western Oregon University and Linfield will play at 3 p.m.
On Saturday the tournament will continue with three games, and then Sunday will round out the tournament with two more. Nicknamed “Family Weekend,” fans can buy a family tournament pass for a discounted price of $10 (pass admits five people).