Six long balls lead to lopsided Warrior win
ANTHEM, Ariz. – With six home runs, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team trotted its way to its first win of the season on Friday. The Warriors pummeled Wayland Baptist 16-5 on day two of the Arizona Desert Classic.
Warrior senior Alfonso Casillas (photo) led the game with two home runs and four runs batted in. The first baseman from Indio, Calif., helped start the hitting festivities with a two-run home run in the third. His blast came just two batters after Jordan Payne had launched a three-run shot over the fence in left field.
The Warriors are now 1-1 on the year, while Wayland Baptist is at 4-3. In the two other tournament games on Friday, Point Loma Nazarene defeated College of Idaho 9-8, and College of Idaho took down No. 17-ranked Fresno Pacific 11-3.
The blasts of Payne and Casillas erased a 1-0 deficit and gave the No. 11-ranked Warriors a 5-1 lead after three.
Sophomore Kyle Knigge, who connected for his first collegiate home run on Thursday, hit a line drive solo homer in the fifth, and senior Braxton Miller added a solo shot on the first pitch of the sixth inning to increase the lead to 7-1.
In the seventh frame, things really started to unravel for Wayland Baptist. The inning began with a Trent Bridges double followed by a two-run bomb to center by Casillas. Five walks and one hit batsman later, Cody Garner entered the game as a pinch hitter and sent a 1-0 pitch over the fence in right field to score three more runs. When the seventh inning was said and done LCSC had plated nine runs and taken a 16-1 lead.
“Obviously we swung the bat well again today,” said LCSC head coach Gary Picone. “A lot of different guys contributed and overall I thought we played well.”
LCSC finished with 12 hits in the game, of which eight were for extra bases. The six home runs is the most for the Warriors since 2009 when the team hit six against Dixie State. The all-time record is nine, accomplished in 2002 against Central Washington and in 1983 against Whitworth.
For Casillas it was the third multi-homer game of his Warrior career.
“Casillas has hit well in the two games we’ve played so far, and we expect that. He’s a guy coming back that we’re counting on to have a good year.”
Picking up the win for the Warriors was sophomore Carsen Nylund who started the game and surrendered just one run over six innings. The righty from Surrey, British Columbia, gave up three hits and two walks and struck out three.
The tournament will conclude with three games on Saturday, including two games for the Warriors. LCSC and College of Idaho will play at 9:30 a.m., Point Loma and Wayland Baptist will also play at 9:30 a.m., and then LCSC and Fresno Pacific will close out the tournament at 1 p.m. All times listed are PST.
“It will be a big test for us with two games tomorrow,” Picone said. “All of the teams are pretty good, and everybody can beat everybody, so I’m sure it’ll be two good games.”