Thunderbirds douse Warrior offense; sweep doubleheader
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – With rain stopping Friday’s game in the third inning and pushing it to Saturday, and then Saturday’s play being halted multiple times because of wet weather, it is safe to say that the only drought at Nat Bailey Field on Saturday was that of run support for the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team. The Warriors’ offense was held to just three runs in the two games against UBC. LCSC fell 3-1 in the first game, which was a continuation of Friday’s contest, and then lost 8-2 in the second.
After falling behind 2-0 in the two and a half innings played before rain postponed the game on Friday, the Warriors sent Zach Arneson to the mound to start the first tilt on Saturday–albeit in relief according to the box score. Arneson did a good job as he pitched 3.1 innings, struck out six, and gave up just one run; and Cody Garner followed with three K’s to hold the Thunderbirds scoreless for the final 2.2 innings.
Regardless of the strong pitching, however, LCSC couldn’t close the gap simply because they couldn’t pierce the arm of Sheldon McDonald and the defense of UBC.
McDonald, a left-handed senior, had seven strikeouts and surrendered just one run in six innings of work. He was benefitted by nicely turned double plays in the seventh and eighth.
Outhitting the Thunderbirds 7-4, the Warriors did have a few chances to score, but ended up with little to show for it.
The Warriors led off the seventh inning with back-to-back singles, but a strikeout followed by a groundball double play squelched the opportunity. In the eighth, LCSC again led off with back-to-back singles only to be stopped by another groundball double play followed by a strikeout.
LCSC, which had a season-high ten strikeouts in the game, scored its one run in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI double by Trent Bridges. Bob Foerster had the big hit for UBC, a two-run single in the first inning on Friday.
What McDonald did in the first game, UBC starter Eric Brown matched in the second.
Brown, a right-hander, held the Warriors to just two runs in his eight innings of work while striking out six. He was relieved by Andrew Ledger who pitched a three-up-and-three-down ninth.
The Warriors began the second game on the right foot as they took a 1-0 lead with Billy Silvestri’s second-inning sacrifice fly. However, two innings later UBC tied the game in the fourth and then stormed in front with a three-hit, three-run fifth-inning rally.
In the seventh with the score 4-1, British Columbia took advantage of two Warrior errors to score four more runs and put the game out of reach (only one of the four was earned).
LCSC outhit UBC 7-6 in game two, but surrendered a season-high nine walks to British Columbia’s one.
The Warriors’ are now riding a three-game losing streak which is their longest skid since they lost three consecutive games near the end of the 2006 season. The 16-time national champions haven’t lost more than three-games in a row since they dropped four straight in 2001.
Saturday’s losses mark the first time LCSC, which has an all-time record of 68-14 against UBC, has lost back-to-back games in Vancouver.
Lewis-Clark State, ranked No. 4 in the NAIA preseason poll, now stands at 11-5 overall and 3-4 in NAIA West play, while British Columbia is at 12-5 and 8-0.
Despite a forecast which calls for more rain, the two teams will try to play two more games on Sunday to complete what was scheduled to be a four-game series. Sunday’s doubleheader is slated to start at 11 a.m.