DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Carsen Nylund threw 7 2/3 strong innings and reliever David Murillo was solid out of the bullpen to help the No. 8 Lewis-Clark State College baseball team start their weeklong road trip in Florida on the right foot with a 3-2 victory over No. 13 St. Thomas.
The Warriors (21-5) will be in Daytona Beach through Saturday, with four games against host Embry-Riddle and one contest against Webber International left on the schedule.
“After flying cross country and playing the next day, we could have had excuses, but we went out and got the win,” LCSC coach Jeremiah Robbins said.
LCSC struck for two runs in the first inning, and Nylund held the Bobcats (23-8) scoreless until the eighth.
“Carsen came in with a phenomenal mental approach and was very competitive in the innings he threw,” Robbins said. “I was very impressed with his demeanor and the way he established the tempo out on the mound.”
Nylund (pictured above) scattered eight hits through his time on the mound, and recorded 16 ground ball outs. He also struck out four and walked two while working ahead of the Bobcat hitters.
“When you get guys into those 0-1 counts you’re going to have success,” Robbins said. “All of our pitchers needed to see that, and hopefully Carsen set the tone for the week that we need to throw strikes.”
Designated hitter Eric Peterson drove in what proved to be a vital insurance run in the sixth inning. With one out, Cody Lavalli laced a double to right-center field. Peterson singled through the right side of the St. Thomas infield to plate Lavalli and give the Warriors a 3-0 lead.
Nylund, who wiggled out of trouble earlier in the game by inducing a pair of double plays, stranded runners on first and second in the seventh after Brandon Canizares popped out to second base.
He almost did it again in the eighth.
St. Thomas led off the frame with two seeing-eye singles, but Nylund struck out Adam Duarte for the first out. With runners on first and second, Steven Fischer hit a hard grounder to third that was fielded by Ryan Sells, who stepped on the bag for the second out. The Warriors weren’t able to complete the double play when Brady Steiger couldn’t handle Sells’ low throw to first.
The Bobcats took advantage, as Jerry Downs and Edwin Rolon followed with consecutive singles off Nylund and Murillo to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Murillo got Giovanni Zayas to fly out to center field to end the threat, and retired the side in the ninth for his second save.
The Warriors opened the game well offensively with two first-inning runs.
Jake Shirley lined the first pitch he saw from St. Thomas starter Michael Arostegui into the left-center field gap for a double, and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw.
After a fly out and a walk, Steiger drove in Shirley with a sacrifice fly for the Warriors’ first run. Lavalli followed with an infield single, and aggressive baserunning by Ryan Sells allowed him to score from second on the play.
Robbins said that despite the early salvo, LCSC missed some chances at the plate.
“We punched first in the first inning but then we kind of hung around and let their guy get back to being comfortable in the mound,” Robbins said. “We need to stay focused at the plate for all nine innings and not let bad at-bats carry over to late at-bats.”
The Warriors take the field against No. 7 Embry-Riddle at 3 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday at Sliwa Stadium. Steve Thompson will start on the mound for Lewis-Clark State.