LEWISTON, Idaho – Pat Murray continued to swing a hot bat and drove in two runs with a pair of hits, while Tyler Knigge pitched six strong innings before tiring to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team collected its eighth straight victory with a 6-2 win over Azusa Pacific on Wednesday.
The Warriors, playing in their first game since taking over as the top-ranked NAIA team, improve to 25-2 overall, while Azusa Pacific falls to 13-16.
Murray, a 6-foot-2 senior from Huntington Beach, Calif., stretched his consecutive-game hit streak to 14 by going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. During his last seven games, Murray is 15-of-24 at the plate for a .625 batting average and has scored eight run with 10 RBI. Six of his hits have gone for extra bases, including a double in Wednesday’s contest.
Knigge, a junior right-hander from Lewiston, tossed five innings of scoreless ball before Brice Cutspec, the Golden State Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year last season, hit a monster solo home run to right field in the sixth. Knigge got two quick outs to start the seventh, but then gave up a walk and a single. He was replaced by Stephen Foster, who allowed an RBI single to Cutspec, who was the lone bright spot for the Cougars. Cutspec went 4-for-5 with both RBI and a run scored.
Still, Knigge looked strong for the most part and allowed six hits and the two runs in 6.2 innings. He also struck out four and walked one to improve to 6-0 on the season. Foster pitched one-third of an inning, while Seth Haehl allowed a hit and a walk in the eighth, and then Henry Buenrostro gave up a hit in the ninth.
The Warriors collected 12 hits in the game as Josh Ashenbrenner, Brian Burke, and Gino Casini joined Murray with two hits in the game. Casini also drove in two runs.
LCSC pushed across its first run in the bottom of the first when Ashenbrenner singled, reached second on an error, and went to third on a single by Burke. Murray then singled up the middle to score Ashenbrenner.
The Warriors made it 4-0 in the third as they scored three runs on five hits. Ashenbrenner and Burke hit consecutive singles and Murray drove in the first run with a double. A balk then allowed the second run to score, while Casini followed with a single to score Murray.
LCSC’s final two runs came in the fourth for a 6-0 lead. Jason Hague led off with a bunt single, stole second, and reached third on a throwing error. Burke followed with a grounder to short, but a throwing error by APU’s shortstop allowed Hague to score and Burke to reach second. After Murray walked, Casini singled to left to score Burke.
After Cutspec hit his team-leading 11th home run of the season in the sixth, he added his RBI in the seventh after a walk to Virgil Chavira and a single by Ryan Henley.
Both teams had plenty of scoring opportunities because APU left 11 baserunners stranded, while LCSC left 10.
The Warriors did not commit an error in the game.
The two teams meet again in a single game on Thursday at 4 p.m. and then conclude the four-game series with a noon doubleheader on Friday. Following Friday’s second contest will be the annual Easter Egg hunt with the Warrior baseball team at Harris Field.