No. 11 Warriors ground No. 5 Eagles with walk-off win
LEWISTON, Idaho – There’s nothing like a walk-off win to boost a team’s confidence, and that’s just what the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team got on Tuesday at Harris Field. With the bases loaded, senior Billy Silvestri hit a ground ball up the middle to plate the game-winning run and give the Warriors a 5-4 victory over Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“To come back, based on yesterday and the start of the game today, I thought we showed good character,” said LCSC head coach Gary Picone. “I thought we executed pretty well in the last three or four innings.”
After falling 15-0 in Monday’s game, LCSC trailed 3-0 early on against Embry-Riddle but was able to keep itself in a position to win.
LCSC starting pitcher Anthony Armanino didn’t dominate by any means, however, the left-handed junior did keep the Eagles within reach for the length of the game, which was scheduled prior to the contest for seven innings.
“It wasn’t his best performance and it wasn’t his best stuff, but he stayed with it,” Picone said. “He kept us in there and gave us a chance to come back.”
Down 4-1 in the fifth, the Warriors scored two in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth to tie it up heading into the seventh and final inning.
The seventh-inning walk-off rally began with senior Alfonso Casillas rapping the first pitch off the wall in left field. He slid head-first safe into second base, and Garrett Tygerson then came in as a pinch runner. With the winning run on second, Cody Garner came to the plate next.
“I thought Cody had a good chance to pull the ball,” said Picone when asked if he thought about having the left-handed Garner bunt the runner to third. “If he gets a base hit then it puts even more pressure on them (the Eagles).”
Sure enough, the senior knocked a line drive through the right-side of the infield to put runners on first and third.
Silvestri then stepped into the batter’s box and, with Embry-Riddle’s infielders playing in, sent a 2-2 pitch on a hop over the mound and into centerfield.
“I thought the whole inning was good,” Picone said. “We had three good at bats in a row. Three guys executed back-to-back-to-back.”
The Warriors outhit Embry-Riddle 11-6 on the day with Casillas leading the way with a 3-for-4 effort. Cody Garner and ERAU’s Ben Kline had two hits apiece. Eagle Chris Page had the game’s only home run, a solo shot via a high-fly ball which just cleared the fence in right field. It was his seventh long ball of the season, and it made the score 4-1.
Armanino threw 95 pitches, struck out seven, and surrendered three earned runs and a walk in earning the victory. He is now 4-1 on the season.
The Eagles used a Warrior fielding error to take a 1-0 lead in the first, however, they returned the favor with an error in the fifth. The miscue, a misplayed ground ball which would have ended the inning, scored one run and was followed by an RBI single by Casillas to make the score 4-3.
LCSC scored the tying run in the sixth when Embry-Riddle starter Chad Modomo hit Kyle Knigge with a pitch with the bases loaded. Modomo, who surrendered just two earned runs in 5.2 innings of work, escaped the jam with a fly out to right field.
The Warriors left 10 men on base to Embry-Riddle’s four. Both teams committed one error apiece.
The win lifts LCSC to 21-8 overall, while Embry-Riddle drops to 25-8. Tuesday was scheduled as a doubleheader, however, rain caused the second game to be postponed. The four-game series will now feature a doubleheader on Wednesday with a start time of 2 p.m.
“We’re anxious to get the games in because these are great games to play. Hopefully we get two more good games in tomorrow.”