LEWISTON, Idaho – Brian Burke hit his team-leading eighth home run and scored twice, while five pitchers combined to hold Central Washington to one run as the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team ran its win streak to 13 games with a 3-1 win over the Wildcats at LCSC’s Harris Field on Sunday.
Burke, a senior transfer from Kansas Wesleyan, again showed why he was a first team NAIA All American a year ago by going 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.
That was all the offense the Warriors, 14-1 overall, needed because five pitchers combined on a nine-hitter and pitched well in tough situations. CWU left 10 runners stranded and could push only one run across even though it outhit LCSC 9-8 in the game.
Central Washington, 2-10 overall, did strike first in the game against LCSC starter Colby Hawk. Keola Rubin started the inning with a single up the middle and Chance Plutt drew a walk. Brett Bielec then laid down a bunt in a sacrifice attempt, but managed to turn it into an infield single to load the bases. Jake Hammons then grounded into a double play, but Rubin was able to score on the play.
The Warriors answered back in the bottom of the inning when Burke singled and Brian Gaylord followed with a walk. Pat Murray then hit a grounder to second that Central Washington tried to turn into a double play. Gaylord was forced out at second, but a throwing error on the play allowed Burke to score.
Burke broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning. Trent Bridges started the rally with a double to right-center field and Burke followed with a two-run home run to left field. Burke, who is hitting .367 on the season, has a team-leading 25 RBI.
The Warrior bullpen made the lead stand as all four relievers allowed one hit apiece. Hawk pitched three innings and allowed five hits and one walk. He also struck out two. Cody Fassold, who picked up the win to improve to 3-0 on the season, went two innings and gave up one walk and one hit, as did Seth Haehl. Both also picked up a strikeout. The final two pitchers went one inning apiece. Kevin Camacho threw the right and struck out two, while Zach Clanton picked up his first save of the season. Clanton did walk one and hit one batter in the ninth, but he got a line out and a ground out to end the game.
Palmer Brown, the second of three CWU pitchers, took the loss. He allowed three hits and two runs with four strikeouts in four innings. Starter Travis Stultz went three innings and gave up four hits and three walks. Ryan Tarver pitched the eighth.
Bridges joined Burke with two hits in the game. They combined to go 4-for-7 with two RBI and three runs scored in the top two spots in the lineup. Pat Murray and Jake Eccles each added a double for LCSC.
Hammons and Kris Henderson had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
LCSC, 14-1 overall, has played its first 15 games at home this season and will venture on a five-game road trip in five days starting on Friday. LCSC will play single games against Concordia in Portland Friday through Sunday and then heads to Lacey, Wash., for games next Monday and Tuesday against St. Martin’s.