Suicide squeeze lifts LC to 8-7 win
LEWISTON, Idaho – Connor Moore’s suicide squeeze bunt with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning scored Jason Hague from third base to lift the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team to a 7-6 win over the University of British Columbia on Sunday and complete a three-game sweep of the series between the two Top 25 NAIA-ranked teams.
After UBC, ranked No. 13 in the NAIA preseason poll, scored a run in the top of the 11th to take a 6-5 lead, the Warriors used two walks, a double, a sacrifice fly and the bunt to score twice and claim the win. Both teams matched runs in the 10th inning after the contest was tied 4-4 after nine innings.
LCSC, ranked sixth in the preseason poll, is 24-2 overall, while UBC is 20-6. The first regular-season poll comes out on Tuesday.
The Warriors did a number of things well in the contest, but hurt themselves with three errors. Five Warrior pitchers combined to strike out a season-high 13 batters in a game to help the program win its seventh straight extra-inning game and second walk-off contest of the season.
Brian Burke and Pat Murray hit back-to-back home runs for the second straight day to help the Warrior offense. Murray was able to extend his hit streak to 13 games.
Colby Hawk, who is one of the starting aces of the staff, made his first relief appearance of the season and wound up picking up the win despite giving up the go-ahead hit to improve to 4-0. Shawn Heatherington took the loss to fall to 1-2.
The Warriors broke out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Burke singled through the left side and was replaced by courtesy runner Andy Matthews. Murray followed with a double down the left-field line to score Matthews for the lead.
UBC scored twice in the third when Keaton Briscoe singled and two outs later, Mike Elias smacked his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left-center field.
The Warriors regained the lead at 3-2 in the fourth when Burke led off with his solo shot to left-center field and Murray followed with his blast to left. Burke leads the Warriors with 12 home runs on the season, while Murray has five.
UBC bounced back with two runs in the sixth inning, again on a two-run home run. Greg Desnsem opened the inning with a walk and Nick Senior followed with a two-run blast to right-center for his first home run of the season.
The Warriors tied it at 4 in the bottom of the sixth when Murray walked and moved up to third on consecutive wild pitches. He then scored on Brian Abrey’s sacrifice fly to left.
Both teams had a base runner reach second in the ninth – UBC with one out and LCSC with no outs – but neither team could advance the runner.
In the 10th, UBC’s Blake Carruthers drew a walk to start the inning and then moved to third on consecutive ground outs. Senior then hit a routine grounder to second, but Warrior second baseman Michael Bush couldn’t field cleanly and the error allowed the Thunderbirds to score the go-ahead run.
LCSC tied the game again in the bottom of the 10th. Moore drew a one-out walk and Abrey also walked. Gino Casini then singled to right center to score Moore.
In the top of the 11th, LCSC reliever Tim Stuvland retired the first two hitters on ground balls, but then gave up consecutive walks to Christian Jolley and Elias. Carruthers then deliver an RBI single to left before Hawk struck out the final batter.
In the LCSC 11th, Brian Gaylord grounded out to first to start the inning, but Kevin Lovelace followed with a walk. Hague then doubled to right-center to move Lovelace to third. Josh Ashenbrenner’s sacrifice fly scored Lovelace and moved Hague to third. Burke drew an intentional walk before Moore laid down the bunt on a 1-0 count and Hague beat the throw to the plate to end the game.
Murray finished the contest 2-for-3 2ith two RBI and two runs scored. Casini and Burke also had two hits and one RBI apiece.
The Warriors resume play on Wednesday when they take on Azusa Pacific in a four-game series. The two play on Wednesday and Thursday nights, both at 6 p.m., and then in a doubleheader on Friday at noon. APU has been struggling at times this season and stand 14-15 overall, but just 6-14 in Golden State Athletic Conference play.