LEWISTON, Idaho – Opposed by a good arm and a red-hot opponent, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team came up with the key hits it needed to get the win at the Inland Cellular Tournament at Harris Field on Friday evening. The Warriors used 11 hits and solid pitching in the early and late frames to hold off Linfield College 6-3.
Linfield, which clinched the Northwest Conference championship and a bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament two weeks ago, sent its ace Ryan Larson to the mound in an effort to stop LCSC which has now won 11 straight.
“We were facing a quality opponent—he’s one of the better pitchers in [NCAA] Division III,” said LCSC head coach Gary Picone about Larson. “We were a little streaky against him, but I liked our approach overall at the plate.”
After being mowed down by two strikeouts and a double play in the first two innings, the Warriors were able to get something going in the third thanks to a ground ball and a throwing error by the shortstop to put a runner at second. LCSC catcher Aaron DeGuire then stepped to the plate and laced a 1-2 pitch to right center to score the first run of the game (click here to view video).
Two batters later, Brian Gaylord sent the first pitch he saw way over the fence in right field (click here to view video). This plated DeGuire and made the score 3-0. It was Gaylord’s team-leading 12th home run of the season.
With a three-run lead, LCSC starter Tyrell Poggemeyer cruised through the first five frames until he ran into trouble in the sixth.
Four singles helped the Wildcats score two runs and put the tying run on base. Then with two outs and runners on first and third, Kevin Allan laid down a bunt to the third-base side of the infield. DeGuire fielded the bunt and reached to tag the runner coming home from third—but missed. This tied it up at 3-3.
LCSC, now 35-13 overall, was quick to respond though as they came up with a two-run answer in the bottom of the seventh. The rally again started with a ground ball and a throwing error by the shortstop which allowed DeGuire to advance to second. Connor Moore followed this with a line drive to center field which was hit hard enough to get past the centerfielder and allow the run to score and Moore to end up at third base. Trent Bridges then hit a sac fly to right to bring home DeGuire and make it 5-3.
And for good measure, Braxton Miller led-off the eighth by crushing a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center to make it a three-run cushion for the home team. It was Miller’s eighth dinger of the year.
To close out the final three frames, the Warriors sent Zach Arneson to the mound. The right-hander first induced a groundball double play to get out of a first-and-second jam in the seventh, and then went on to use his mid-90s to face the minimum in the eighth and end the game on a strikeout in the ninth. The senior earned the win for his relief effort, and is now at 2-1 on the season.
Four Warriors had two hits in the game including Moore, Gaylord, Alfonso Casillas, and Kyle Knigge. For the Wildcats, Eric Evenson and Nate McClellan both had two apiece.
Linfield, which enter Friday’s contest having won eight of its last nine games, falls to 29-9 overall.
In the tournament game prior to LCSC and Linfield, Pacific Lutheran rallied in the ninth to top George Fox 6-4.
The tournament continues on Saturday with George Fox and LCSC going at it at noon, and then Linfield and Pacific Lutheran playing at 3. As a special promotion, which lasts all tournament long, all youth-league baseball players who wear their uniform to the games will get in free.