Casillas' grand slam pushes LCSC past Linfield
LEWISTON, Idaho – Down by a run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team needed a timely hit on Saturday afternoon against Linfield College and it came in the form of a grand slam by senior Alfonso Casillas (photo). The blast led the No. 9-ranked Warriors to an 8-5 victory—their eighth straight win of the season.
“I wanted to get a pitch up and I was sitting off-speed, and he threw me a slider that didn’t really slide,” Casillas said. “It just spun and stayed right down the middle, so I just stayed on it.”
The long ball cleared the fence in left-center and cleared the bases to help the Warriors overcome a 5-4 deficit.
The victory lifts LCSC to 39-10 overall, while Linfield goes to 21-15. The two teams will meet in the final game of the three-game series at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Despite trailing in the eighth, Lewis-Clark State had actually been out in front for most of the game.
The Warriors scored one run via a fielding error by Linfield in the first, and starting pitcher Anthony Armanino held the Wildcats scoreless through the first five frames.
Linfield’s Tim Wilson hit a solo home run to tie the game in the sixth, but the Warriors used four hits and two walks to answer with three runs in the seventh.
In the eighth, however, back-to-back leadoff hits followed by a walk and a two-run single up the middle by Kyle Chamberlain spelled trouble for the Warriors. The Wildcats then used a squeeze bunt with the bases load to plate one more and take the lead.
The Warriors’ eighth-inning game-winning rally began with a couple of singles followed by a two-out walk by Eric Peterson. This brought Casillas to the plate.
Three straight walks to load the bases made it an intense bottom of the ninth, but Warrior reliever Mitchell Wilhite was able to induce a 1-2-3 double play to thwart any damage.
Sal Arena garnered the win for the Warriors and Mitchell Wilhite the save. Armanino finished with a line of 6.2 innings pitched, five hits, one run, and six strikeouts.
LCSC had 14 hits in the game including three by Peterson and two apiece by Payne, Moore, Casillas, and Knigge. Casillas finished with five runs batted in and now has a team-leading 10 home runs.
Linfield had nine hits including three by Wilson and two by Kenny Johnson.