Bridges and Gaylord lift LCSC to 7-3 win
LEWISTON, Idaho - Trent Bridges hit a two-run single to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning and teammate Brian Gaylord had three hits and three RBI to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team defeat George Fox 7-3 at Harris Field on Wednesday and secure the program's best start after 48 games.
The Warriors, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, won their 14th straight game to stand at 45-3 on the season. LCSC's previous best start at 48 games came during the 2007 season when the team was 44-4.
LCSC has only two regular season games left and they come on Friday and Saturday in Seattle against Seattle University.
Bridges, a sophomore infielder from Coeur d'Alene, came through with the key hit when needed to give the Warriors breathing room. The Warriors loaded the bases with two outs. Jake Eccles started the inning with a single, and after two outs, Josh Ashenbrenner singled. Kawika Emsley-Pai, the hero of Tuesday's 4-3 victory over George Fox with a walk-off ninth inning solo home run, then drew a walk to load the bases.
Bridges, who is hitting .424 since the first month of the season and .377 overall, lofted a two-run single to left field that Bruin left-fielder Michael Woo misplayed. The ball rolled to the outfield fence, which allowed Emsley-Pai to score and Bridges to reach third. The play put LCSC ahead 6-3.
The Warriors added an insurance run in the eighth when Jason Hague was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on a single by Gaylord, who has been on a tear of his own lately. The junior outfielder is hitting .429 over the last 11 games with 20 runs scored and 11 RBI.
Still, LCSC had its hands full at the beginning with the Bruins, who fell to 23-16. Warrior starting pitcher Colby Hawk, a senior right-hander from Boise, lasted only 12 pitches before being pulled. He didn't record and out and gave up three hits and a walk, including a leadoff home run to Josh Burch on the third pitch of the game.
LCSC coach Ed Cheff said because he's treating these games at the end of the season as if it were the postseason, he pulled Hawk rather than leave him in and allow him to pitch out of the slow start, which he would have done in this would have happened a couple of weeks ago.
Reliever Seth Haehl entered the first trailing 1-0 with no outs and the bases loaded. He proceeded to get Josh Rapacz to line out to Bridges at third and Bridges managed to double off the runner there. Haehl got out of the jam on a fly out.
The Warriors tied the contest with a run in the bottom of the first. Gaylord hit his team-leading 22nd double of the season and eventually scored on a sacrficie fly by Ashenbrenner.
George Fox picked up a run in the fourth on a wild pitch, but Gaylord put LCSC in front with a two-run home run to right field in the fifth. It was his seventh home run of the season.
The Bruins managed to tie the contest in the sixth when Rapacz singled to open the inning, which eventually led to an RBI single by Eric Gantenbein.
Both teams collected 11 hits in the contest, which featured just the one error. Woo had three hits to pace the Bruins, while Bridges and Gaylord combined for five hits and five RBI.
Tim Stuvland, the third of four LCSC pitchers, picked up the win to improve to 2-0. He went 1.2 innings and gave up two hits. Stephen Foster allowed one hit over the final two innings to pick up his third save of the season.
Friday's contest against Seattle U will start at 6 p.m., while Saturday's season-finale will begin at 1 p.m.