Warriors can't cool red-hot Coyotes
LEWISTON, Idaho – Playing its first game since the tragic death of Warrior pitcher Zach Hull, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team was faced with the daunting task of ending the win streak of the College of Idaho. The Warriors, stifled by a complete-game performance by Coyote starter Mitch Dame, came close, but fell 3-1 on Friday night at Harris Field.
The contest, which opens a four-game series between the two teams, extends the Coyotes’ win streak to 12 games and stops LC’s run at three. Lewis-Clark State is now 14-6 overall and 4-5 in NAIA West play, while College of Idaho is 19-10 and 9-4. The two teams will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and then finish up the series with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.
A moment of silence was held prior to Friday’s game in honor of Hull who passed away in an auto accident on March 17. The 6-foot-3 left-hander was having a tremendous season with the Warriors as he was 3-0 with a 0.00 earned run average through 17.1 innings. In his honor and memory, the team painted Hull’s No. 34 in the foul territory between home plate and third base, directly in front of the dugout. All members of the team and coaching staff also wore patches with the No. 34 on their sleeves.
The game drew a season-high attendance of 410 including a large number of fans wearing t-shirts with No. 34 on the back.
The Warriors looked determined to come away with a victory, however, Dame looked just as determined as he used 122 pitches to go the distance and keep the Warriors to just one unearned run. The lefthander, a senior from Kimberly, Idaho, held LCSC to a season-low five hits while striking out three and walking none.
Lewis-Clark State struck first with a run in the second inning and held a 1-0 lead for most of the game thanks to the gutsy effort of starter Tyrell Poggemyer. Nevertheless, the Coyotes took advantage of a season-high six Warrior errors and answered with single runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
In a game with only 11 hits between the two teams, errors played a big role in the offensive successes of both teams.
The Warriors were first to capitalize on a miscue when a bobbled ball with two-outs by the second baseman led to a line-drive RBI double by shortstop Kevin Lovelace. Catcher Aaron DeGuire had started the two-out rally with a double dumped over the leftfielder’s head.
Despite two more errors by the Coyotes the Warriors failed to reach second base for the remainder of the game. After a lead-off single by Braxton Miller in the fourth, Dame retired the next 18 consecutive batters with the exception of one batter who reached base via an error in the seventh inning.
Poggemeyer used 98 pitches to battle his way through the first six innings and keep his team in the lead. He struck out four, and gave up two hits and two walks
In the seventh, Tanner Hodges led off with a double to right-center. Two outs later, Todd Griffiths hit a bloop single to shallow right field to score the College of Idaho’s only earned run of the game.
The Coyotes took the lead in the eighth with the help of a Warrior miscue. Anthony Pawelek drew a walk to lead off the inning, and this was followed by a routine popup to the shortstop. The shortstop easily caught the ball around the edge of the dirt between short and third, but overthrew the pitcher when trying to return the ball to the mound. The ball sailed into the first base dugout and the base runner was awarded third base. On the very next pitch, Jeffrey Harris lined a single to right field to take the lead.
Hodges ended up being the only player with multiple hits as he was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
An error in the ninth led to another run for the Coyotes, but the run proved to be unneeded as Dame cruised all the way to the final out.