LEWISTON, Idaho – Warrior starting pitchers Garrett Wilson and Carsen Nylund combined to throw 17 innings, strikeout 12, and surrender just one run in two games against Menlo College at Harris Field on Saturday afternoon. Lewis-Clark State swept the doubleheader by final scores of 8-1 and 2-0.
Wilson (pictured left), a junior from Anaheim, Calif., pitched a complete game in the opener—the team’s first complete game of the year. The right-hander (now 4-0) threw 99 pitches and surrendered just one run. He gave up 11 hits, but struck out four and walked none.
Nylund (2-0), a right-hander from Surrey, B.C., was equally impressive as he struck out a team season-high eight batters in eight innings of work while allowing just two hits and a walk.
“They controlled the games on the mound,” said LCSC head coach Jeremiah Robbins. “Both of them just gave their heart and soul out there. They pitched very well and made the big pitches when they needed to.”
The two victories bump the No. 8-ranked Warriors to 15-5 on the year with a 4-2 mark in NAIA West play. Menlo dips to 9-12 and 2-5.
Lewis-Clark State combined its solid pitching with perhaps some of the best defense its played this season. The Warriors made just one error on the day and had a number of web gems including three crisply turned double plays in the first game.
“To go through 18 innings of baseball and only commit one error is a true sign of a team that is starting to grow,” said Robbins. “Coach (Justin) Fuller has been working with our infielders, and the big thing is just getting relaxed. Most of our errors have been created from being tense or from being over aggressive instead of just playing the game and being focused. If we can stay focused and relaxed then those errors will continue to come down.”
Offensively, LCSC’s runs were few and far between with the exception of a six-run sixth inning in the opener. The rally featured six hits including a two-run double by Brady Steiger and a one-run double by Cody Lavalli (video).
Lavalli, who put the Warriors on top with a solo homer to left in the second, went 3-for-4 in game one with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
“It was just good situational hitting. We created some opportunities and got some big hits when we needed them,” said Robbins about the sixth inning outburst. “We had good pressure at bats on their pitcher and we hit his mistakes.”
LCSC scored only twice in the second game, once in the first and once in the second, but Nylund didn’t need any more than that.
“I felt good. Felt loose,” said Nylund. “I just wanted to give my team an opportunity to win.”
Jake Shirley scored the first run when he led off with a double, advanced to third on a passed ball, and was driven home by a ground ball to the right side by Zach Holley. The run in the second inning came via a two-out RBI single to left field by Shirley.
“It’s always nice to get runs early in the game,” Nylund said. “You feel a lot more confident.”
Steve Thompson pitched the ninth for the Warriors and picked up his second save of the year. He allowed a hit to start the inning, but retired the next three batters in order to close it out.
Menlo starter Derek Martinez was tagged with the loss in game two despite a solid effort. He went six innings and gave up only two runs (one earned) and seven hits. He struck out five, but walked four and hit two batters.
The two teams will play the series finale on Sunday at noon.