SEATTLE – Perhaps the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team just needs to fast-forward to the final inning.
For the third time in its last four games, the Warriors used final-inning heroics to pick up a win, this time scoring two runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Seattle University 8-7 on Friday night.
LCSC, which owns six walk-off victories at home this season, picked up its third road win of the season in its final at-bat, giving the team nine victories in the final inning. That has been a key for the Warriors’ assault on the program’s best single-season winning percentage as LCSC now stands at 46-3.
The Warriors, 12-1 in one-run games this season, have won 15 straight, one shy of tying their season best.
With only one regular-season game left, Friday’s win gave this year’s team the program record for fewest losses during a regular season. The previous mark was five losses during the 2007 season. If LCSC can beat Seattle again today, it can do no worse than five losses this season as well after it takes part in the double-elimination Avista NAIA World Series.
Friday’s contest was the first against an NCAA Division I school this season for the Warriors, who never trailed in the game against the Redhawks, now 7-32 overall. The Warriors held the lead until Seattle tied it in both the sixth and seventh innings, the final time at 6.
The Warriors then scored twice in the top of the ninth for an 8-6 lead. Josh Ashenbrenner started the rally with a single and went to second on a ground out by Pat Murray. Brian Burke, who already had homered in the game, was intentionally walked. Jack Eccles drove in the first run with an RBI double, while Kawika Emsley-Pai hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the second run.
LCSC then hung on as Seattle scored once in the bottom of the ninth and had the game-tying run on at first when the final out was made.
The Warriors used four pitchers in the contest and the fourth, senior Henry Buenrostro, picked up the win. He went the final 2.1 innings and gave up four hits and a run, but struck out two. Buenrostro has two wins and two saves in his last four appearances, which cover 11.1 innings. He also has 14 strikeouts during that time.
Cody Fassold started the game for LCSC and went two innings. He allowed two hits and two runs. Tyrell Poggemeyer went the next three innings and gave up five hits and three runs, while Tim Stuvland allowed two hits and a run in 1.2 innings. All seven Redhawks’ runs were earned.
At the plate, Burke and Emsley-Pai did most of the damage as both hit home runs. Burke went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Emsley-Pai went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Ashenbrenner also had two hits.
Burke got LCSC rolling in the first when he hit a two-run home run, his team-leading 16th of the season.
Seattle’s Cullen Hendrickson countered with a solo home run, his fourth, in the bottom of the inning, but Emsley-Pai led off the second with a solo blast to right field for his third homer this year.
Seattle again cut the margin to one at 3-2 in the bottom of the inning, but LCSC made it 4-2 in the third. Murray started the rally with a single and went to third on a double by Burke. Bryson Tajiri then grounded out to short to score Murray.
After Seattle picked up a solo run in the fifth, the Warriors made it 5-3 in the sixth. Tajiri started the rally with a single and took second on a throw error. Emsley-Pai then singled him to third and Tajiri scored on a grounder by Gino Casini.
Seattle scored twice in the bottom of the sixth with the help of back-to-back doubles.
In the Warrior seventh, Ashenbrenner walked and scored on a double by Burke, his second of the game. Again Seattle answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game and set up the finish.
The Warriors and Redhawks meet Saturday at 1 p.m.