Armanino and Garner combine on five-hit shutout
LEWISTON, Idaho – Anthony Armanino and Cody Garner combined on a five-hit shutout to help the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team capture the championship in the Inland Cellular Tournament with a 3-0 win over Western Oregon University at LCSC’s Harris Field on Sunday.
In the third-place game earlier Sunday, St. Martin’s scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to pick up its first win of the season with a 7-6 triumph over Central Washington.
The four-team tournament, which involved three NCAA Division II schools along with LCSC, featured round-robin play the first two days and the top two advancing to Sunday’s championship game. Sunday’s win was the eighth straight for LCSC, which improves to 10-2 on the season. Western Oregon is now 9-4, while Central Washington is 2-8 and St. Martin’s is 1-11.
Western Oregon, ranked No. 17 in Division II, entered Sunday’s contest with an offense that had been clicking. The Wolves averaged nearly eight runs and 10.5 hits per game this season before Sunday and put up some big numbers in a 14-13 loss to LCSC when the two met during round-robin play on Friday.
Armanino and Garner, however, kept the Wolves’ bats quiet in posting LCSC’s first shutout of the season.
Armanino, a junior left-hander from San Carlos, Calif., pitched seven strong innings. He allowed just four hits and two walks with six strikeouts. He threw 90 pitches, 57 of which were for strikes.
“He’s a three-pitch guy with a breaking ball and a change-up to go with his fastball,” LCSC coach Gary Picone said. “Today was the first time this year he was able to use all three pitches effectively. He was able to throw the change-up or the curveball early or even if he was behind in the count. And he eliminated the walks.”
Entering Sunday, Armanino had pitched in three games for a total of 7.1 innings. He also had allowed seven walks. In picking up his first win of the season, Armanino didn’t allow a baserunner past second.
“I felt pretty good out there today,” Armanino said. “I was throwing pitches for strikes and had some good defensive plays behind me. When you have a good defense behind you like we have, it makes easier to come out and pitch.”
The Warrior defense did its part, turning a double play in the seventh inning. Center fielder Jordan Payne also made a nice catch while running into the center field wall in the eighth inning to take away an extra-base hit from WOU’s Blake Miller with a runner on first base.
Garner, backed by Payne’s catch, also pitched well in picking up his first save of the season. He allowed one hit in his two innings of work and struck out two. Of the 27 pitches he threw, 18 were for strikes.
“Armanino and Garner both pitched well and I thought we played really good defense,” Picone said. “The catch by Payne was a critical play.”
Picone also credited LCSC catcher Aaron DeGuire for calling what pitch Armanino and Garner to throw.
“Obviously we had a game plan going in and what we wanted to do but Aaron does a great job calling the game,” Picone said. “He has a real feel for the flow of the game and how the pitcher is doing.”
Western Oregon starter Kirk Lind did surrender 10 hits, but also threw well. He allowed three runs and one walk with four strikeouts.
“Offensively, we didn’t have our best approach today but that guy we faced had something to do with it,” Picone said. “He was good. I’d rather play a quality opponent like this than have a 19-3 game against a lesser opponent. Today, we beat someone we can feel good about. Western Oregon is a good club.”
The Warriors scored their first two runs in the second inning. Designated hitter Eric Peterson started the rally with a one-out single and Bobby Tannehill followed with a single. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Billy Silvestri followed with an RBI single that moved Tannehill to third and Connor Moore followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to center.
LCSC’s final run came in the fifth when Moore led off with a double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by DeGuire. Payne then hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left.
While all of WOU’s hits were singles, the Warriors collected three doubles. Tannehill led the way with three hits, while Silvestri and Kyle Knigge had two each.
Trent Bridges had a single in the seventh inning and continued his streak of having at least one hit in every Warrior game this season, but Alfonso Casillas went 0-for-4 to have his 11-game hit streak snapped.
The Warriors will kick off NAIA West conference play next week with a four-game series against Menlo College at Atherton, Calif. The conference schedule has been changed for this season and instead of North and South Divisions, all teams will play four-game series against every conference team. LCSC will play Menlo, Simpson, British Columbia, and Oregon Tech on the road this season and will have home four-game series with Corban, College of Idaho, Concordia and Patten. Next season, the Warriors will have the four they play on the road in 2012 at home, and will travel to the other four schools.
Although LCSC’s games will count in the NAIA West standings, the Warriors will not participate in the conference tournament or any other NAIA postseason play until the Avista NAIA World Series. As the host school, LCSC receives an automatic berth into the 10-team double-elimination Series, which will be held at Harris Field on May 25-June 1.