Pitching helps LC finish tourney undefeated
Starter Tyler Knigge led another solid outing by the Lewis-Clark State College pitching staff to help the Warriors finish their own Guardian Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Tournament undefeated with a 13-1 victory over Linfield College at LCSC’s Harris Field on Sunday afternoon.
Knigge combined with two relievers on an eight-hitter in the lopsided and somewhat sloppy contest that featured 10 errors, including six by the Warriors. Knigge combined with relievers David Luna and Stephen Foster to allow one unearned run and one walk with 12 strikeouts.
The win also put an exclamation point on the job the Warrior pitching staff did during the four-day five-team tournament, which saw LCSC breeze to the title with a 4-0 mark. The LCSC staff allowed only four earned runs in the four games to keep its earned run average at 1.00 on the season. LCSC, 7-1 overall, has allowed eight earned runs in 72 innings pitched.
Knigge, a junior right-hander from Lewiston, improved to 2-0 on the season. He went the first four innings and gave up four hits with three strikeouts. By the time the fifth rolled around, the Warriors were up 10-0. David Luna then pitched the next three innings and gave up three hits and the run, but also struck out six with one walk. Foster, seeing his first action of the season, went the final two innings and allowed one hit with three strikeouts.
The early blowout allowed both teams to go to their bench early and often. Brian Gaylord, who replaced starter Josh Ashenbrenner at third base in the fifth inning, finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while outfielder Bryan Abrey went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Trent Bridges led the Warrior with three RBI, while Brian Burke continued his hot bat by driving in a pair.
The Warriors wasted little time in rolling against Linfield starter Kevin Brown. Jason Hague started the bottom of the LCSC first with a single and stole second. With two outs, Burke hit an RBI single to right and Kawika Emsley-Pai followed with an RBI double to right-center field. A walk preceded an RBI single from Connor Moore, while Abrey made it 4-0 with an RBI double.
LCSC then broke the game wide open with a five-run third inning for a 9-0 lead. After a hit batter and a walk opened the inning, Abrey singled up the middle for the first RBI. Bridges followed with a two-run double to left-center field. That appeared to be the end of the inning as Todd Muecklisch popped up, but the Linfield shortstop dropped the ball, which allowed Bridges to score from second. Burke then added an RBI single.
The Warriors kept rolling with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, singles by Bryson Tajiri and Moore set up a grounder by Bridges that scored Tajiri. In the fifth, Gaylord, in his first plate appearance in the game, hit a solo home run to right field, his first of the season, to make it 11-0.
Linfield picked up its only run with the help of two LCSC errors in the seventh inning. A walk and a passed ball put a runner on second base with two outs. Michael Hopp followed with a grounder to first that LCSC first baseman Travis Georgius couldn’t handle and the ball bounced to second baseman Trent Bridges, who tried to get Hopp at first, but threw the ball into the Linfield dugout. The two errors allowed the baserunner to score.
LCSC scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings for the final score. In the seventh, Gaylord doubled to right field and eventually shorted on a throwing error. In the eighth, Abrey doubled and came around on a fielding error. In all, four of LCSC’s 13 runs were unearned.
The Warriors outhit Linfield 15-8 in the contest.
Linfield finished 1-3 in the tournament and is 5-3 overall.
In Sunday’s first game, Western Oregon overcame deficits of 5-0 and 10-4 to defeat Saint Martin’s 12-11. Western Oregon scored five runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to take the lead for the first time. Kyle Boe had four hits and four RBI for the Wolves, while Cody Brooks and Josh Grenier had two RBI apiece for the Saints. Western Oregon went 3-1 in the tournament to stand 5-8 overall, while St. Martin’s went 1-3 and is 2-9 overall. Central Washington only played two games in the tournament and went 0-2 to leave its record at 2-4 on the season.
LCSC is tentatively scheduled to resume play on Thursday against Northwest Nazarene, but the status of the game won’t be decided until Monday. The two teams are assured of playing a single game at 2 p.m. on Friday and a doubleheader at 11 a.m. on Saturday, all at LCSC’s Harris Field.