Warriors end great regular season with 5-3 win over Redhawks
SEATTLE – Well, it wasn’t another ninth-inning win for the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team but it couldn’t have come much closer as Pat Murray (photo) drilled a two-out three-run home run in the eighth inning to help the Warriors overcome Seattle University 5-3 on Saturday afternoon. LCSC ends its regular season with a record of 47-3—its fewest losses during the regular season in program history.
The win for the Warriors comes one day after they rallied to score two runs in the ninth and top Seattle University 8-7. LCSC seems to have a flair for dramatics this year as it has now won four games after trailing in the seventh inning and has notched six walk-off victories at home.
With just three losses, the Warriors bested the mark set in 1983 of four regular season defeats. In 2007, LCSC had five losses during the regular season and ended up sweeping the NAIA World Series.
The Warriors, who are now on their second 16-game win streak this season, not only had trouble scoring runs against Seattle’s Arlo Evasick early in the game on Saturday but also found it hard to even reach first base.
Evasick retired the first eight batters he faced, had a slight hiccup in the fourth, but then held the Warriors scoreless for the next three innings including a three-up-and-three-down sixth and seventh.
Finally in the eighth, the Warriors caught a couple breaks and were able to make the most of them. Behind 3-1, Jason Hague was hit by a pitch to give the Warriors a runner at first to start off the inning. Brian Gaylord then sent a ground ball up the middle that seemed destined to produce at least one out, but the shortstop misplayed the ball, putting runners at first and second. A failed sacrifice bunt and a fly out to center put two outs on the scoreboard but the outs didn’t matter to Murray as he nailed the first pitch he saw over the left field fence to give LC a 4-3 lead. It was the senior’s ninth home run this season.
LCSC scored an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to an RBI single by Hague and that served as plenty of room for Henry Buenrostro to nail down the win. After gathering the third out to escape a minor jam in the eighth, Buenrostro struck out one without surrendering a hit or a walk in the ninth to earn his 10th save of the season. Buenrostro’s save total now stands as the program record as it surpasses Brian Parker’s mark of nine in 2007.
With just five hits in the game, the Warriors didn’t have too many chance to plate runs on Saturday, Seattle, on the other hand, squandered multiple opportunities.
Four singles and a Warrior error helped the Redhawks take a 3-0 lead in the second, however, they missed two good chances to add on in the third and sixth. In the third, Cullen Hendrickson was attempting to score from second on a single but was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Gino Casini. Then in the sixth, the Redhawks threatened with runners at first and second when a double play groundball brought an abrupt end to the inning.
Seattle had 11 hits in the game with Steve Kirbach’s three hits leading the way. Bryndon Ecklund and Nick Latta both had two hits apiece, while no Warrior had more than one.
Evasick went seven and two-thirds innings, struck out six, and gave up four hits and only one earned run.
Tyler Lichty started on the mound for the Warriors and went the first five innings. He surrender nine hits and three runs, with only two of them being earned. Colby Hawk relieved Lichty in the sixth and ended up pitching two scoreless innings to earn the win. Hawk improves to 7-0.
With the regular season now in the books, the Warriors have a whole lot of waiting ahead of them. If LCSC receives a first-round bye in the World Series, which is likely considering it is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, it will have a layoff of 21 days between the regular season and post season play—its longest break before playing in the World Series in school history. In 1985, LCSC had a 20-day layoff before winning its second national championship title.