Shorthanded Warriors handle Whitworth 6-4
SPOKANE – Playing its fifth game on the road in the last four days, a wore out and wounded Lewis-Clark State College baseball team persevered its way to a 6-4 victory over Whitworth University on Tuesday afternoon. The win lifts the Warriors to 33-10 overall.
“It was a good win,” said LCSC head coach Gary Picone. “These guys played hard and overcame a lot of adversity to get the win today. We had guys in new positions, we had pitchers hit, but we played hard and played well so I’m happy for them.”
Because of a number of recent injuries, the Warriors knew they’d be playing shorthanded on Tuesday, but they didn’t know that matters would get even worse once they arrived. Near the end of LCSC’s pre-game infield warm up, starting second baseman Bobby Tannehill (above photo) pulled up with an apparent back injury while fielding a groundball.
The type or extent of Tannehill’s injury is unknown at this time. He joins the long list of injured Warriors which includes starting infielders Alfonso Casillas (quadriceps) and Trent Bridges (fractured ring finger), starting outfield Kyle Knigge (hip flexor), and starting pitcher Carson Nylund (back). The Warriors lost pitcher Cody Garner to a torn labrum earlier this year.
“Five starting players in two weeks is more than I’ve ever seen,” said Picone about his team’s injury woes. “But we survived, and the guys who played today played well.”
LCSC, ranked No. 10 in Tuesday’s NAIA poll, had to get creative with its defensive setup on Tuesday to say the least. Zach Holley, an outfielder, came in to play second base for the first time this season; Sal Arena, the team’s usual closer, made his first start at third; utility man Billy Silvestri held down shortstop; and Mitchell Wilhite, who has been starting at shortstop, started the game on the mound and also batted.
The Warriors struck first with three runs in the third thanks to a two-run double by Jordan Payne followed by a two-out RBI single by Braxton Miller. However, the Pirates used three hits and two Warrior errors to tie it up at 3-3 in the bottom of the inning.
In the fourth, the Warriors struck again and took the lead for good. Wilhite drove in Kevin Hawk with a single to right field, and Arena, who had stopped at third, was also able to score when the ball got away from the right fielder.
Whitworth scored one run and threatened to score more in the seventh, but reliever Terik Gofinch was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam with a 1-2-3 double play.
The Warriors then added an insurance run with an RBI single by Hawk in the ninth, and Zach Clanton pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half of the inning to close the door. It was Clanton’s first save of the season.
Wilhite earned the win as he threw five innings, surrendered three runs (two earned), and struck out two. Gofinch surrendered one run in three innings of work.
Both teams finished with nine hits in the game. Hawk and Wilhite had two hits apiece, while Whitworth, now 20-13-1 overall, was led by Tyler Pfeffer who went 3-for-4.
The Warriors will host fellow NAIA West member Patten University this weekend. The four-game series will begin with a 6 p.m. contest on Friday, and continue with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.
“It’ll be nice to get home,” said Picone. “We’re looking forward to that.”