Warriors clinch North Division title; extend streak to 10
CALDWELL, Idaho – With another powerful display of offense, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team swept Saturday’s doubleheader with the College of Idaho and in turn clinched the NAIA West North Division title. The Warriors took Saturday’s games 12-1 and 15-3 and have now won 10 straight.
Saturday’s victories inched the Warriors passed the University of British Columbia, which had held first all season long, in the division standings. With the conference portion of the season completed, the Warriors finish at 23-8 in division play (34-13 overall), while British Columbia ends a half of a game back at 23-9 (27-14).
More great hitting coupled with strong pitching made it easy for the No. 14-ranked Warriors to come away with two wins against the Coyotes on Saturday. Alfonso Casillas and Bryan Abrey headlined the day by going a combined 13-for-18. Casillas was 7-for-10 with two home runs, four RBI, and four runs scored, while Abrey was 6-for-8 with four doubles, five runs, and five RBI.
In game one, Cody Fassold went the distance to earn the win as the Warriors put up 11 runs in the final three innings. The right-hander struck out nine and surrendered just five hits as he kept the game at 1-1 until LC’s offense kicked into high gear in the final frames. Fassold is now 3-3 on the season, and becomes the first Warrior to throw a complete game this year.
The Warriors scored three in the seventh thanks to three walks, a hit batsman, and an RBI single by Aaron DeGuire. They used five hits, including RBI doubles by Gino Casini and Abrey, to plate four in the eighth. And added four more in the ninth with a couple more walks, a two-run double by Abrey, and a one-run triple by Garrett Patterson.
In game two, LCSC attacked early with seven runs in the first two innings and seven more in the fifth. The Warriors used four pitchers in the game with Jorge Sanchez earning the win in relief. Sanchez entered the game in the fifth with two men on base and struck out the next two batters to end the inning and escape the threat. He finished with four K’s in 1.2 innings pitched and is now 3-0 on the year.
With seven hits, including a two-run double by Braxton Miller, the Warriors scored five runs in the first, and then added two in the second with back-to-back solo home runs to left field by Casillas and Casini.
The fifth-inning rally was highlighted by six more hits including doubles by Miller, Billy Silvestri, Trent Bridges, Abrey, and a two-run homer by Casillas. Casillas now has eight long balls on the year and a team-best .429 batting average.
LCSC had 15 hits in game one and 24 in game two to outhit the Coyotes 70-38 in the four-game series and outscore them 53-21.
College of Idaho finishes third in the five-team division at 19-13 (29-19), while Concordia claims fourth at 8-22 (15-29), and Corban fifth at 4-25 (9-40). Menlo College went 19-5 (32-14) to win the four-team NAIA West South Division.
The NAIA West Tournament will be held next Wednesday through Friday with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NAIA National Opening Round. Because Lewis-Clark State receives the host berth to the NAIA World Series it does not play in regional tournaments or the opening round.
To keep busy, the Warriors will host the Inland Cellular Tournament on Friday through Sunday at Harris Field. The four-team tournament will bring NCAA Division III schools Pacific Lutheran, George Fox, and Linfield to town and will kick-off at 3 p.m. on Friday.