LEWISTON, Idaho – Cody Lavalli hit a three-run home run as part of a big seventh inning that put the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team ahead to stay on Sunday, and helped the Warriors clinch a four-game sweep of Menlo College with an 11-7 victory.
Lavalli’s blast, his second in as many days for the Warriors (16-5 overall, 6-2 NAIA West) was the centerpiece of a four-run seventh inning that broke a 4-4 tie against Menlo (9-13, 2-6 NAIA West). Brady Steiger also homered on Sunday for LCSC, which rapped out 16 hits against three Oaks pitchers.
The sweep came at a great time for the Warriors, who rebounded well from a series loss at Corban last weekend.
“We were ready for all four games, and I really liked our defense after Game 1,” Lewis-Clark State coach Jeremiah Robbins said. “This team had something to prove; that we weren’t the team we were last weekend.”
David Murillo (2-0) earned the victory in relief, pitching two innings of one-run ball in place of starter Ryan Sells.
Murillo entered the game in the sixth inning, and although he allowed the Oaks to tie the game at four in the top of the seventh, the Warriors came back with four runs in the bottom of the frame to go ahead to stay.
Derek Rodrigues (1-2) took the loss for Menlo, also in relief.
“I liked our mentality this weekend, and for the most part we pitched it pretty well,” Robbins said. “We had some guys get big outs out of the bullpen today.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 3-1 lead three innings, powered by Steiger’s first homer of the season. The Oaks chased Sells with two runs in the fourth, but LCSC went back on top 4-3 when Sako Chapjian scampered home on a wild pitch.
With the score tied at four apiece in the seventh, Jake Shirley smacked a pinch-hit double to right-center to lead off the inning. Sells, staying in the game as the designated hitter, singled through the left side to put runners on first and second.
Steiger singled to right to put LCSC ahead 5-4. After the Oaks lifted Rodrigues in favor of reliever Kyer Vega, Lavalli greeted him with a home run to left-center field to blow the game open.
“We’re certainly not playing for the home run, but the ball was jumping out a little bit today,” Robbins said. “When our hitters put good swings on the ball, the park can play to them a little bit.”
Lewis-Clark State has 14 home runs as a team in 2013.
The Warriors tacked on three more runs off Vega in the bottom of the eighth on a bases-loaded walk, a hit batsman and an RBI single by Lavalli.
Menlo’s Daniel Comstock hit a three-run homer off LCSC’s Steve Thompson in the ninth inning for the 11-7 final score.
On the day, the Warriors’ 1-5 hitters – Kevin Knapp, Tariq Staton, Sells, Steiger and Lavalli – combined to go 12-for-22 at the plate.
“This was a good step forward for our team,” Robbins said. “Our guys stuck with our approach and stuck together as a team.”
Lewis-Clark State takes the field at home on Friday with the first of two doubleheaders against Oregon Tech.