Junior second-baseman Trent Bridges went 4-for-5 and pitchers Cody Fassold and Cody Garner pitched well when needed to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team defeat Pacific Lutheran 5-4 at LCSC’s Harris Field on Sunday to complete play in the Inland Cellular Tournament.
In Sunday’s early game, Linfield held off George Fox 6-4. Both Linfield (31-9) and LCSC (36-14) went 2-1 in the round-robin tournament, while George Fox (26-13) and Pacific Lutheran (19-20) went 1-2. Linfield, George Fox and Pacific Lutheran are all NCAA Division III teams.
The Warriors did enough things well to get the job done on Sunday against PLU. The Warriors collected 12 hits in the game and Fassold and Garner combined on an eight-hitter and allowed just three earned runs.
“We played good enough to win today, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” LCSC coach Gary Picone said after the Warriors won for the 10th time in their last 11 games. “We have a lot of room for improvement and to get better.”
Bridges, who has been swinging a hot bat of late, improved his average to .409 on the season by collecting three singles and LCSC’s only extra-base hit of the day, a double.
“He was one of a few guys that had a good approach and swings. We need more of them,” Picone said. “We need more guys to do the same.”
Fassold pitched the first five innings and picked up the win to improve to 4-3 overall. He allowed four hits and three runs, only two of which were earned, and struck out six. He also walked three.
Garner pitched the final four innings and allowed four hits, one of which was a line drive off of his back. PLU eventually scored a run in the seventh, but Garner got out of the jam and wound up with three strikeouts.
Both Fassold and Garner were able to escape trouble as PLU left 12 runners stranded on base, while LCSC left 10.
Both teams scored a run in the first. PLU’s Brock Gates hit an RBI double, which was the Lutes’ only extra-base hit of the game, while Alfonso Casillas had an RBI single for the Warriors.
LCSC took the lead for good in the third inning. Bridges started the one-out rally with a bunt single and went to second on a single by Casillas. Gino Casini then singled to right to score Bridges and Braxton Miller’s single up the middle scored Casillas.
LCSC made it 5-1 in the fourth. Garrett Patterson walked to start the rally and Aaron DeGuire followed with a single. Connor Moore then flew out to center, which allowed Patterson to take third. A wild pitch scored Patterson and moved DeGuire to second. Bridges then doubled down the left-field line to score DeGuire.
PLU answered with two runs in the fifth with the help of a walk, a single, a wild pitch, and an error.
After Fassold, who is nursing a leg injury, came out after the fifth inning, Garner retired four of the first five batters he face (the one reached on a fielding error). PLU’s Ryan Frost then lined a shot back to Garner and the ball hit Garner square in the back and bounced into right field for a single. After taking some warm-up tosses, Garner resumed pitching, but allowed two more singles and PLU cut the lead to 5-4. Garner escaped the jam with a grounder to end the inning as PLU left two stranded.
The Lutes had their first two hitters reach in the eighth, but couldn’t score and also had the tying run on in the ninth, but Garner got out of the jam to preserve the win.
“I thought our pitching was fine,” Picone said. “We definitely can pitch better.”
The Warriors are scheduled to wrap up the regular season on May 17 against Seattle University in Seattle. Picone said he’s hopeful LCSC can pick up at least a second game on the trip with the NCAA Division I school.