Burke and Muecklisch power LCSC to sweep
Brian Burke hit a grand-slam home run and Todd Muecklisch homered in each game to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team sweep a doubleheader from Northwest Nazarene University 7-1 and 6-4 at LCSC’s Harris Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors also used solid outings by starting pitchers Tyler Lichty and Cody Fassold to continue their domination over the Crusaders. LCSC is now 44-0 since 1971 against the Crusaders after the three-game sweep.
LCSC, 10-1 overall, was solid in all facets of the game in the opener. The Warriors out-hit NNU 11-3 and also played errorless ball on defense to back the solid outings from Lichty and reliever Stephen Foster.
In the second game, the Warriors led 4-0 going into the seventh, but had to survive a two-run rally in both the seventh and ninth innings to claim the win. NNU had the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the ninth after scoring twice when the final out was made.
NNU, 6-7 overall, had a hard time getting anything going in the opening game. Lichty, a junior right-hander from Sandpoint via Lower Columbia CC, continued his impressive first season with LCSC. He threw seven innings, tying the longest outing by a Warrior pitcher this season, and allowed just two hits and one run. He also struck out four and walked two. Lichty is now 2-0 on the season with a 1.47 earned run average in 18.1 innings pitched.
Foster pitched the final two innings and allowed one hit. Foster has not allowed a run in his four innings of work this season.
NNU’s lone run came in the second inning when it took a 1-0 lead. Connor Rankin drew a walk and scored on Greg Christensen’s double to center, but Christensen was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.
LCSC took the lead for good when Burke, a senior, hit his team-leading fifth home run and second grand slam of the season. Gino Casini singled to start the third inning and a pair of walks sandwiched around a force out loaded the bases for Burke’s blast over the left-field fence.
The Warriors added a run in the fifth when Muecklisch, a senior shortstop, went deep to right field for his first home run of the season.
LCSC’s final two runs came in the sixth when Jason Hague singled to right and scored on a double by Muecklisch, who was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a triple. Josh Ashenbrenner, Burke and Pat Murray followed with consecutive singles, the last one pushing across the final run.
Burke finished the game 3-for-5 with four RBI and a run scored. Muecklisch went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Hague also scored twice. Casini added three hits.
Hague, Muecklisch, Ashenbrenner, and Burke, the Nos. 1-4 hitters in LCSC’s lineup, went 7-for-16 with seven runs scored and six RBI in the game.
In the second game, it was the Nos. 2-6 hitters who did the damage for LCSC. Kawika Emsley-Pai finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Brian Gaylord was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Ashenbrenner also drove in a pair of runs, while Muecklisch went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Muecklisch finished the day 5-for-7 with three RBI and four runs scored, while Burke was 4-for-9 with four RBI and two runs scored.
LCSC got the ball rolling in the fourth inning of the second game when Muecklisch hit a home run to left-center field. Burke added a one-out double to left and went to third on a single by Emsley-Pai. Gaylord followed with an RBI single to center that moved Emsley-Pai to third. Trent Bridges’ grounder then scored Emsley-Pai.
The Warriors made it 4-0 in the sixth when Emsley-Pai singled and scored on a double by Gaylord to left-center field.
NNU picked up its first two runs of the game in the seventh when Fassold walked the first two batters he faced and was replaced by Henry Buenrostro. After the runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt, Christensen brought in the first run on a ground out, while Niko Hawes’ RBI single brought in the second run.
LCSC answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Muecklisch singled and scored when Ashenbrenner hit his second home run in as many days and fourth of the season. His two-run shot to right gave the Warriors a 6-2 advantage.
NNU made a final run in the ninth, all with two outs. Christensen and Hawes singled, and then a single by Kramer Uvila loaded the bases. Jon Keller followed with a two-run single, but the rally ended there when pinch-hitter Ryan VanBeek struck out to end the game.
Hawes, Uvila, and Keller, the Nos. 1-3 hitters for NNU, were a combined 7-for-15 with three RBI and a run scored in the game. Hawes and Uvila were both 3-for-5, while Keller was 2-for-5.
Fassold went six-plus innings for LCSC and gave up four hits and two runs. He walked two and struck out six. Buenrostro went the final three innings and allowed six hits and two runs. He also struck out two.
The Warriors will put their nine-game win streak on the line on Monday in the first of four home games next week. LCSC plays host to College of Idaho on Monday and Tuesday in single games at 2 p.m. and then plays host to Central Washington University in singles games at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.