SALEM, Ore. – Despite a long trip after a tough game on Sunday and a schedule change announced late Sunday night, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team had no trouble adapting and swept a doubleheader from Corban College by scores of 6-2 and 8-0 on Monday.
Led by senior Josh Ashenbrenner and freshman pitcher Zach Hull, LCSC stretched its win streak on the season to four games by again dominating the Warriors from Salem. The NAIA’s top-ranked team, 35-3 overall, has now defeated Corban 35 straight times and owns a 37-1 record against the program.
The Warriors had a long day Sunday after defeating the University of British Columbia 8-4 in Vancouver and then boarding a bus to head to Salem. The team arrived at its hotel around 1 a.m. on Monday.
LCSC wasn’t scheduled to play Corban until 4 p.m. in a single game on Monday, but because the weather forecast called for rain showers starting on Monday night, it was decided late Sunday night to move Tuesday’s doubleheader to Monday at start the first game at noon.
Despite the short night of sleep, LCSC had no trouble with Corban, leading throughout both games. Ashenbrenner, a senior infielder, hit home runs in both games to stretch his hit streak to 11 games. He now has 196 hits in his career and is trying to become the 10th Warrior in program history with 200 or more career hits.
Hull, who was making only his third appearance of the season, threw a complete-game shutout in the second contest to earn his first collegiate victory. Hull took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finished with a four-hitter with six strikeouts. It was the first complete game by a Warrior pitcher this season and the first complete-game shutout since Matt Fitts blanked Concordia in 2008.
In the opening game, Corban outhit LCSC 12-9, but couldn’t connect with the key hits when needed. In fact, Corban had problems connecting period. LCSC right-hander Tyler Knigge struck out a career-high 13 batters in six innings and the Warrior pitching staff struck out a season-high 15 batters in the game.
Knigge, a junior from Lewiston, became the first LC pitcher with seven wins this season as he improved to 7-0. Knigge allowed nine hits and two earned runs during his stint, while two LCSC relievers held Corban scoreless over the final three innings.
The two earned runs allowed by LCSC in the doubleheader allowed it to lower its NAIA-leading earned run average to 2.47.
The Warriors broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning of the opener when Ashenbrenner hit a solo home run and Pat Murray added a two-run home run.
After Corban scored twice in the seventh, the Warriors added three more in the top of the eighth for the final. Ashenbrenner started the rally with a single and eventually scored on a single by Brian Burke. Danny Anguiano added an RBI single, while Michael Bush was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the final run.
Ashenbrenner, Burke and Murray, the Nos. 2-4 hitters, combined to go 5-for-12 with four RBI and five runs scored in the opener. Travis Georgius added two hits.
The second game was all Hull, who threw only 88 pitches in the contest. Hull was expected to redshirt this season and sat out the first half of the season before the coaching staff decided to use him this year.
At the plate, the Warriors scored in five innings. Bush had an RBI double in the third, while Wil Thorp's sacrifice fly in the fourth made it 2-0. Trent Bridges had an RBI single while Brian Abrey drove in a run with a bunt in the fifth made it 4-0.
LCSC added two more in the sixth on four hits as Bush and Brian Gaylord had RBI singles. In the eighth, Ashenbrenner slugged a two-run home run. It was his ninth of the season and marked the eighth straight game LCSC has hit a home run.
The top of the order again did most of the damage for LCSC as Bush, Ashenbrenner, and Gaylord, the Nos. 1-3 hitters, were a combined 7-of-14 with five RBI and four runs scored. Ashenbrenner was 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Bush was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Because of the expected rain Monday night and part of Tuesday, the two teams moved Tuesday’s contest to Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., because the field has artificial turf. The contest is scheduled for noon.