Menlo snaps LCSC's eight-game win streak
ATHERTON, Calif. – Up against timely hitting and a determined opposing pitcher, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball fell to Menlo College 9-5 in game one of a four-game series on Friday afternoon. Menlo was helped by a couple of home runs, including a two-run inside the park homer in the sixth.
“We didn’t perform well in any area of the game,” said LCSC head coach Gary Picone. “Our pitching wasn’t what we wanted it to be, offensively we didn’t have consistent at bats, and we didn’t play good defense. It was by far our worst performance of the year.”
With the loss, the Warriors’ eight-game win streak is snapped and the team’s record moves to 10-3 overall. The loss also brings the Warriors to 0-1 in the NAIA West Division, as Friday’s contest marked the beginning of league play.
The NAIA West is composed of nine teams total including British Columbia (independent), College of Idaho (Cascade Collegiate Conference), Concordia (Cascade), Corban (Cascade), Menlo (California Pacific Conference), Oregon Tech (Cascade), Patten (independent), and Simpson (California Pacific).
All of these teams will be participating in a scheduling structure that features round-robin play across 10 weekends. Each team plays four home and four road series. Each series consists of four games.
The top five teams in the final regular season standings (exclusive of Lewis-Clark State, which as host of the NAIA Avista World Series receives an automatic bid to the national tournament) will earn berths to the NAIA West postseason tournament. The NAIA West's five-team double-elimination postseason tournament will be held May 2-4 in Portland, Ore.
With the victory on Friday, Menlo improves to 1-0 in league play and 4-9 overall.
The Warriors put one run on the board in the top of the first, however, Menlo answered by scoring at least one run in each of the first six innings.
The Oaks’ biggest innings came in the second and sixth when they scored two and three runs, respectively. Sam Shapiro’s inside-the-park home run highlighted the rally in the sixth. Will Pierce had Menlo’s other blast of the game, a solo shot in the fifth.
LCSC threatened multiple times in the but did not end up with much to show for it. In the fifth, they stranded runners on second and third with a fly out to center field.
Sean Sweeney started the game for Menlo and worked his way through five gritty innings to pick up the victory. He allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and is now 2-0 on the season. His other win of the season came against No. 17-ranked Fresno Pacific.
The nine-run offensive outburst marks just the third time this year that Menlo has scored over five runs in a game.
“Poor execution on our part,” Picone said in describing why his team struggled to get outs. “But give Menlo credit. They outplayed us and they deserved to win.”
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday with the first game starting at noon. Sunday’s series finale will also begin at noon.
Complete statistics were not available after the game.