Behind four double plays turned by the defense, University of British Columbia pitchers Sheldon McDonald and Shawn Hetherington managed to pitch their way out of jams and help the 7th-ranked Thunderbirds defeat No. 18-ranked Lewis-Clark State 7-1 in an NAIA West contest at LCSC’s Harris Field on Sunday.
Despite the loss, the Warriors still took three of five games from the T-birds to stand at 24-13 overall and 13-8 in conference play, while UBC is 26-11 and 22-6.
Sunday’s contest was a makeup game from a rainout in Vancouver earlier this season, so the Warriors were the visiting team.
LCSC out-hit UBC 11-10 on Sunday, but couldn’t get the key hit when needed and wound up grounding into four double plays, killing potential rallies. LCSC also left eight stranded on base.
McDonald, a left-hander, used his curveball to keep the ball in on the Warrior hitters. He allowed six hits and a run in his five innings of work to improve to 6-1 overall. Hetherington picked up his fifth save of the season after he allowed five hits and a walk in his four innings. He also hit one and struck out one.
LCSC collected three hits in the fourth to produce its run. Kevin Lovelace started the rally with a single, but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice grounder by Trent Bridges. Alfonso Casillas singled Bridges to second and Billy Silvestri followed with an RBI single down the right-field line.
LCSC then put two runners on in the fifth and seventh with one out, but grounded into double plays. UBC also got turned a double play in the eighth to thwart any Warrior rallies.
Four Warriors – Lovelace, Casillas, Silvestri, and Michael Bush, finished with two hits apiece.
UBC got to LCSC starter Cody Garland for four runs in the second inning. Garland managed only 1.1 innings and allowed four hits and two walks. Carsen Nylund went the next 4.2 innings and allowed four hits and three runs with two walks, while Alex Murrieta allowed two hits and two walks in the final two innings, with three strikeouts.
In the UBC second, Austin Fruson drove in the first three runs with a home run over the left-field fence. Fruson finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI.
UBC picked up two more runs in the fifth on aggressive base running as Andrew Firth and Fruson had RBI singles. Bob Foerster added an RBI single in the seventh for the game’s final run.
The win helped UBC split the eight-game regular-season series with LCSC this season.
The Warriors remain at home this week for a six-game series with Corban College. The two teams will meet in doubleheaders at 3 p.m. on Thursday and then at noon on both Friday and Saturday. The two teams had three games rained out in Salem, Ore., earlier this year, but the tentative plan is to make up only two of the games this week with the addition of Thursday’s doubleheader.