Warriors clinch series with a victory in Saturday's doubleheader
LEWISTON, Idaho – Riding the strong outings of starters Brandon Kaye and Casey Edelbrock, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team and British Columbia both had something to cheer about on Saturday as the two teams split a doubleheader. The Thunderbirds won the first contest 8-1, and the Warriors rallied to a 6-1 victory in game two.
Having swept Friday’s doubleheader, the Warriors clinched the five-game series against the No. 7-ranked Thunderbirds with their win on Saturday. LCSC, ranked No. 18 in the most recent NAIA poll, is now 24-12 overall and 13-7 in NAIA West play, while UBC stands at 25-11 and 21-6. The Warriors are responsible for four of British Columbia’s six league losses this season.
Saturday was a story of good pitching with a little bit of timely hitting by both sides.
Kaye, a right-handed senior, was the star in game one as he held the Warriors to one run in eight innings of work. He struck out six.
Warrior starter Cody Fassold looked to be Kaye’s match early in the first game, but was upended by a couple poor pitches and a couple big swings from UBC.
Fassold ran into his first hiccup in the second inning with two outs. After having struck out the side in the first, Fassold retired the first two batters of the inning with a ground out and strikeout, but then surrendered a single to Andrew Madsen and the following batter walked on a 3-2 pitched just barely outside. A wild pitch then put both runners in scoring position and a single through the right side by Matt Spillman, on another 3-2 pitch, made the score 2-0.
The game stayed at 2-0 until the fifth when another two-out Thunderbird rally put a crooked number on the score board. Three walks loaded the bases and Blake Carruthers made the Warriors pay with a grand slam home run over the fence in left field.
Carruthers, a sophomore centerfielder, also hit a solo homer in the eighth to finish the game with five runs batted in. Madsen also homered in the eighth inning and finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
“Fassold pitched OK except for a couple pitches,” said LCSC head coach Gary Picone. “The first game was just disappointing offensively.”
The Warriors were outhit 9-7 and left seven men on base. Brian Gaylord, who plated LC’s only run with a single in the eighth, and Connor Moore led LCSC with two hits apiece.
Game two featured a similar plot only that the roles were reversed.
Edelbrock, a senior from Escondido, Calif., was the dominant force on the mound as he whizzed through six innings with seven strikeouts. The right-hander surrendered four hits and just one unearned run.
The one run came in the fifth inning when spillman and Keaton Briscoe led off with back-to-back singles. A throwing error pushed the runners to second and third, and then a slow groundout by Kevin Nickel to third base scored the run and made the sore 1-0.
After collecting only one hit in the first four innings, the Warrior’s bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a leadoff double by Bryan Abrey to right-center field. The double settled on the warning track where the centerfielder bobbled the ball while picking it up and this allowed Abrey to scoot over to third.
Gino Casini came to the plate next and lofted a sac fly to left field to tie the game at 1-1. The Warriors weren’t finished yet though as Garrett Patterson started a one-out rally with a single to right, and then moved to second on a balk. One walk later, Trent Bridges drilled a single through the left side. The leftfielder came up with the ball cleanly and threw a one-hop strike to the catcher at home but Patterson used a head-first slide and an outstretched left arm to beat the tag.
Edelbrock pitched another strong inning in the sixth before handing the ball over to Zach Arneson who slammed the comeback door shut in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
LCSC used four hits to score three insurance runs in the seventh, and then plated its final run in the eighth. Meanwhile Arneson notched five strikeouts and kept the Thunderbirds hitless to earn the save.
“Arneson is more comfortable out there,” said Picone about Arneson’s new role as a reliever. “Now, we just need our starters to settle in and get the game to our bullpen.”
Lewis-Clark State outhit UBC 11-4 in game two and also finished with zero strikeouts to the Thunderbird’s 12.
“We just have to decide what kind of team we want to be. Whether we’re going to be consistent or not.”
The series will wrap-up with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.