LEWISTON, Idaho – The Lewis-Clark State College baseball team used some late-game heroics to pick up a pair of walk-off victories as it swept a doubleheader from Azusa Pacific 7-6 and 6-5 at LCSC’s Harris Field on Friday.
The Warriors, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, used a one-out single from senior catcher Travis Georgius in the opener to claim the victory in 12 innings, while Bryan Abrey’s bases-loaded two-out single with no outs in the bottom of the ninth gave LCSC the sweep.
LCSC, 28-2 overall, stretched its win streak to 11 and completed a four-game sweep from the visiting Californians. Azusa Pacific falls to 13-19 overall.
The Warriors’ win streak appeared in jeopardy in both games. LCSC trailed 4-0 in the third inning of the opener and trailed 5-3 in the fifth inning of the second game. LCSC, however, came up with the key hits when needed, something APU struggled to do the entire series. The Cougars left 28 baserunners stranded on Friday, including 15 in the first game.
The first game featured a grand slam by Brian Burke, his team-leading 13th home run of the season. Burke drove in six of LCSC’s seven runs in the contest.
In the second game, Abrey provided the punch with two hits and three RBI.
LCSC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the second game when Pat Murray, who extended his hit streak to 17 straight games, drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run. A passed ball and a ground out by Abrey brought in the other two runs.
Azusa Pacific picked up singles run in the third and fourth innings as Chris Feicht singled in the first run, while Ryan Henley drove in the run in the fourth, also on a single. APU then used three hits and three walks to produce three runs in the fifth for a 5-3 lead. Josh Leite drove in a run with a single, while Virgil Chavira scored two with a single up the middle.
LCSC got a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Connor Moore.
A steady rain started in the seventh inning and both teams saw scoring opportunities get washed away. APU put its first two runners on in the seventh, but then stranded them, while LCSC left the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
Down to their final three outs, the Warriors rallied in the ninth. Burke and Murray drew back-to-back walks and Brian Gaylord was hit by a pitch, ending the game for APU pitcher Tim Lu, who made relief appearances in all four contests. Garrett Granitz came on and Abrey drilled a shot into the right-center field gap to score two runs and end the game.
Stephen Foster, a junior left-hander, was the fifth and final pitcher for LCSC and earned the win to go to 2-1 on the season. He pitched 3.1 innings and allowed just one hit and two walks. He also struck out three. The starter for LCSC was freshman Zach Hull of Moscow, who was making his first appearance of the season. Hull went 2.1 innings and allowed two hits, four walks, and a run, but he also struck out four. Lu (0-1) took the loss.
In the opener, Azusa Pacific led 4-0 after three innings, which marked only the third time this season the Warriors have been down by four runs. In the previous two games, LCSC rallied to beat College of Idaho both times.
This time, it took Burke’s grand-slam and the 12th-inning heroics of three players who were a combined 0-for-12 in the game entering the bottom of the 12th.
Feicht got APU going in the second inning when he hit a solo home run off of LCSC start Colby Hawk. The Cougars made it 4-0 in the third on an RBI single by Ryan Delgado, and RBI sacrifice flies by Feicht and Daniel Gonzales, which chased Hawk from the game. An error to start the inning aided the Cougars’ effort.
The Warriors picked up two runs in the fourth when Mike Bush doubled to right and went to third on Josh Ashenbrenner’s single. Both scored when Burke ripped a two-run double down the left-field line.
Burke again was the big hitter in the next inning when LCSC scored five times for a 7-4 lead. Gaylord singled to start the fifth and Georgius followed with a walk. After a wild pitch moved up both runners, Bush brought in the first run on an infield single. A walk to Ashenbrenner loaded the bases and Burke followed with his home run to left-center field.
APU, however, answered with three runs in the seventh to tie the game at 7. A throwing error by Burke at third allowed the first runner to reach and Feicht followed with a single. After both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt, Gonzales singled through the right side to bring in two runs. Chavira later tied the game on an RBI double.
Pitching then took over as both teams managed only one hit over the next three innings.
In the bottom of the 10th, Gaylord doubled to right field and Georgius was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out, but consecutive fly outs got APU out of the jam.
In the top of the 11th, Leite tripled to right field with one out off of new pitcher Seth Haehl, but a pair of ground outs sandwiched around a walk kept APU from pushing across the go-ahead run.
The Warriors’ picked up the winning run in the bottom of the 12th when Abrey picked up his first hit of the game, a double to left-center field, to open the inning. Trent Bridge, who, like Abrey, was 0-for-4 at the plate prior to the 12th, singled to move Abrey to third. Gaylord then struck out, but Georgius took a 2-1 pitch back up the middle for his game-winning single. Georgius had been 0-for-2 at the plate prior to the hit.
Burke finished the contest 2-for-6 with six RBI and a run scored, while Bush, a freshman, was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. The six RBI by Burke tied the second-highest total by an LCSC player this season. Burke had eight RBI in the season opener, an 18-1 win over Corban. LCSC has had a player with five or more RBI in a game four times this season, including three times by Burke.
The Warriors only committed two errors in the game, but both were costly as only three of the Cougars’ seven runs were earned.
Haehl, the fifth pitcher for LCSC, earned the win to improve to 3-0. He allowed two hits and a walk in his two innings of work, and also struck out one. Ryan Rosenhahn, the fourth APU, pitcher took the loss. He allowed four hits and the one run in 3.1 innings, and struck out three.
Feicht led APU in the second game with a 3-for-5 effort and two RBI, while Gonzales drove in three. For the day, Burke went 4-for-10 with six RBI and three runs scored. Abrey went 3-for-10 with three RBI and a run scored.
NOTE: Following the game, the Warriors held their annual Easter Egg hunt and approximately 50 children braved the weather conditions and participated in the event.