Warriors come back to defeat Whitworth in 13 innings
LEWISTON, Idaho – It wasn’t the prettiest game of the year, and by no means was it the shortest, but the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team found a way to come from behind and take down Whitworth University 9-8 in 13 innings on Tuesday night. The No. 12-ranked Warriors won the game via a pinch hit walk-off walk by Brandon Bufton.
The hard fought win over the NCAA Division-III foe extends LCSC’s win streak to six games and lifts its overall record to 26-8.
Tuesday’s game, which is the longest game LCSC has played since going 14 innings against Linfield in 2007, was unpredictable to say the least. The contest began with the Warriors holding the Pirates hitless for the first six innings, transitioned into a defensive meltdown, and ended with four nail-biting frames of extra innings.
The Warriors hit and pitched fairly well throughout the contest, however, they were plagued by a season-high five errors including three in one inning.
LCSC, which had 16 hits on the night, used five hits to plate three runs in the first two innings and cruised through the first half of the game thanks to the arms of Seth Haehl and Mitchell Wilhite. Haehl made his first start of the season and pitched the first three innings without allowing a runner to reach first base. Mitchell entered in relief and continue the trend as he held the Pirates hitless and struck out three over the next three innings.
In the seventh, the wheels came off for the Warriors as Whitworth used five singles and a hit batsmen to score five runs and take a 5-3 advantage.
With an RBI double by Eric Peterson and an RBI single by Aaron DeGuire the Warriors tied it at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, however, eighth inning fielding woes quickly put Whitworth back on top.
Whitworth, which finished with nine hits, capitalized on three LCSC errors in the eighth with two singles to score three runs and take an 8-5 lead.
LCSC’s ninth-inning rally included some timely hitting mixed with a little bit of help from the Pirates. Jordan Payne hit a two-out double to left center to score two runs and make it a one run game. Trent Bridges then followed with a high fly ball towards the line in right field. The right fielder, battling a fairly stiff wind, dropped the ball and this allowed Payne to scamper home and tie it up.
Steady pitching late in the game for both teams ensured that the game didn’t come to a quick resolution. Spencer Ansett pitched two shutout frames in extra innings for Whitworth. The left-hander struck out two and gave up just one hit.
Sal Arena pitched 4.1 innings in relief for the Warriors and allowed just one earned run and three hits while striking out three. Zach Clanton struck out three and held the Pirates to one hit over the final two innings to pick up the win. The Warrior relief pitcher is now 4-0 on the year.
The game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth began with two-outs when Kyle Knigge drove a single past the shortstop. Payne followed with a single to right field and this brought Bridges to the plate. Bridges, who leads LCSC with a .368 batting average, was then intentionally walked to load the bases. With Clanton schedule to bat next, the Warriors sent in Bufton as a pinch hitter. The freshman from Delta, British Columbia, worked his way to a full count and then watched the final pitch of the game miss high and away.
The victory stands as LCSC’s third walk-off win of the season.