LEWISTON, Idaho – With 12 doubles and two home runs the Lewis-Clark State College baseball team powered to a doubleheader sweep of Oregon Tech on Saturday and pushed its win streak to eight. The No. 8 Warriors won the first game, which was stopped in the seventh by the mercy rule, 20-1 and the second 12-9.
The four-game series sweep lifts LCSC to 20-5 overall with a 10-2 record against NAIA West opponents.
In game one, Lewis-Clark State’s assault on the scoreboard began in literal fashion when Brady Steiger blasted a solo home run off the top of the board in first inning.
The Warriors then went on to add eight runs in the second, four in the fourth, and seven more for good measure in the fifth.
“I thought we came out and swung the bats very well,” LCSC head coach Jeremiah Robbins said. “We still left some runners on in that second game and I thought we could have had some better approaches, but as you look at the day I thought we hit very well.”
Steiger (pictured above), who was 4-for-4 with four runs and three RBI’s in game one, finished the two games with six hits, six runs scored, and five runs batted in. The junior from Port Orchard, Wash., had four doubles on the day and lifted his team-leading batting average to .482.
Cody Lavalli, a junior from Apple Valley, Calif., also had a monstrous day at the plate. He sat out the first game but went 4-for-4 in the second with four RBI’s, a home run, and a triple.
“It’s good to see,” Robbins said about his teams overflow of extra base hits. “We love the double. That’s something we focus on—wearing out the gaps.”
LCSC ended up with 14 hits in the opening game and took full advantage of Oregon Tech’s five errors. Jacob Cano had three doubles, three runs scored, and three runs batted in.
With ample run support, Ryan Sells cruised through five innings to grab the win for the Warriors. He allowed just three hits, one unearned run, and no walks and struck out two. Tyler Duffin pitched two scoreless frames in relief before the coaches from both teams agreed to call the game in the seventh.
The Warriors’ offense continued to roll in game two, but this time Oregon Tech joined the action.
Lewis-Clark State had 17 hits and an 8-2 lead after two innings, however, the Owls used 14 hits to score five runs in the seventh and eighth and keep the game within reach.
The Warriors used four pitchers in the second game. Colton Wright, who pitched the fourth and fifth, was tabbed with the win as he struck out three and gave up one run.
Including Lavalli, six Warriors had multiple hits in the finale. Jake Shirley was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI’s.
Oregon Tech (8-19, 1-7), was led by Ryan Hayden’s 4-for-5 effort. Spencer Reed also contributed with two hits including a solo homer in the fourth.
Having outscored the Owls 53-15 over the four games, Lewis-Clark State seems to have found its rhythm at the plate—a rhythm Robbins hopes his team will continue when it embarks on its toughest road trip of the season next week.
“You like to have your hitters going into a very tough six games with a little bit of confidence and I think they have that,” Robbins said, referencing the upcoming trip to Florida. “We’re going to face really good pitching over there, and we’ve got to be ready.”
The Warriors will play six games in six days next week in the Sunshine State. They’ll play three members of the Sun Conference including No. 7-ranked Embry-Riddle (23-5), No. 13 St. Thomas (23-7), and Webber International (20-12).
LCSC will face Embry-Riddle a total of four times with single games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The team will play St. Thomas on Monday and Webber International on Wednesday.
Each game will be broadcasted live online by KOZE Radio’s Brian Danner at www.koze-sports.com.
All three opponents will be tough, however, Embry-Riddle could prove especially formidable as the Eagles are 9-1 against teams ranked in the NAIA’s top 25 this season.
For the Warriors to find success they’ll need their bats to stay hot and to avoid running out of arms.
“That’s one good thing coming off of this weekend,” Robbins said about his pitching staff being ready for the grueling six-day challenge. “Getting a complete game from Garrett Wilson (on Friday) set us up very well, what Sells did in game one today set us up very well, and we can shuffle those guys to the backend of the week and still have plenty of good quality starters to go out.”
NOTE: The Warriors; who will travel to Caldwell, Idaho, and Portland, Ore., after coming back from Florida; will not play again at Harris Field until April 12. This 26-day period away from Harris Field is the longest stretch in program history since 1981 when the team went 28 days without a home game.
Related Video: Postgame interview with Coach Robbins