Seniors Colby Hawk and Josh Ashenbrenner continued their strong starts while Pat Murray hit his third home run of the season to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team defeat Northwest Nazarene University11-8 Friday afternoon at LCSC’s Harris Field.
The win lifts LCSC to 8-1 on the season and pushed their all-time mark against NNU to 42-0 dating back to 1971.
The two teams meet again Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. NNU is 6-5 on the season.
Hawk, a senior pitcher from Boise, pitched six solid innings. He gave up six hits and struck out one, and all three runs he gave up in the second inning were unearned because of an error. The right-hander improved to 3-0 on the season – the first LCSC pitcher with three wins – and still has not allowed an earned run in 17 innings of work.
Ashenbrenner, an infielder, went 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and also scored a run. Ashenbrenner is now 13-of-31 at the plate (.419) with three doubles and three home runs.
The Warriors scored six times in the third inning to take the lead for good and added three more in the sixth for what appeared to be a comfortable 11-3 lead. The Crusaders, an NCAA Division II school, however, battled back with two runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth before LCSC pitcher Seth Haehl came in to get the final out and earn his first save. NNU had the tying run at the plate when the final out was recorded.
LCSC scored solo runs in the first two innings. In the first, Jason Hague opened with a single, stole second, and scored on a single by Kevin Lovelace. In the second, Jake Eccles started the frame with a double to left and went to third on a single by Connor Moore. Gino Casini then grounded into a double play, which allowed Hague to score.
Sandwiched between the two Warrior runs was a three-run second inning for NNU. After a single by Connor Rankin, Greg Christensen reached on a fielding error. Ryan VanBeek then loaded the bases with a single. Hawk then induced Sean McDonald into a 1-2-3 double play as LCSC picked up force outs at home and first. Instead of being out of the inning, however, the fielding error came back to haunt the Warriors as Cameron Louie singled in a run and Tyler Nicholson followed with a two-run single.
LCSC regained the lead in the third with its big inning. LCSC collected six runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter. Murray started the scoring with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly and Eccles added a sacrifice fly. Casini later hit a two-run double by Ashenbrenner finished the scoring with a two-run single.
The Warriors made it 11-3 with three runs in the sixth. Murray hit a solo home run to right-center field to start the inning and Lovelace later added an RBI double. Ashenbrenner picked up his third RBI with a single to complete LCSC’s scoring.
NNU got to LCSC reliever Tyrell Poggemeyer in the eight for four hits and two runs, one of which was earned. A single and a dropped fly ball but two runners on and Ty Windall brought the first run in on a sacrifice fly. Jon Keller added an RBI single, but the Crusaders left the bases loaded.
The Crusaders then got to Zach Clanton in the ninth for four hits and three runs in the ninth. Windall started the scoring with an RBI single and a second run scored when LCSC threw the ball around the infield. Keller doubled in a run. Haehl came in to pitch and the next batter reached base on an error to put runners on first and second with two outs. Haehl then ended the game when Christensen popped up to short.
The two teams combined for 32 hits and four errors.
NNU freshman starter Zeb Sneed took the loss to fall to 1-2. He went 2.2 innings and gave up nine hits, eight runs and three walks. Charles Pollock gave up nine hits and three runs in 5.1 innings of relief, but struck out five.
Keller finished with three hits for NNU, while Louie and Nicholson finished with two hits and two runs scored.
Every LCSC starter had at least one hit in the game. Hague and Ashenbrenner finished with three each, while Murray, Eccles and Moore added two.