DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jake Shirley hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the top of the eighth inning, and Steve Thompson pitched a complete-game for the eighth-ranked Lewis-Clark State College baseball team, which defeated No. 7 Embry-Riddle 2-1 on Tuesday at Sliwa Stadium.
The Warriors moved to 22-5 on the season and 2-0 on their weeklong Florida road trip.
Shirley had two of LCSC’s four hits in the game off two Embry-Riddle pitchers, but they were both big for the Warriors.
The junior outfielder singled to lead off the game and eventually scored on an errant throw, and then took a 2-2 offering from Eagles starter Brian Johnson over the left field fence in the eighth to give LCSC the victory.
“Jake is our leadoff guy for a reason, and he takes pride in being the guy who sets the tone for the day,” LCSC coach Jeremiah Robbins said. “He got into that ball on a very large field and got it pretty good. He’s a menace out there, and he never gives away an at-bat.”
Thompson did the rest, needing just 98 pitches to finish off the complete-game six-hitter and pick up his first victory of the season for the Warriors.
He struck out two, did not walk a batter, and the lone run he surrendered in the fifth inning was unearned.
“It was just a gutty effort by Steve,” Robbins said. “He commanded a couple of different pitches, and if you’re going to be in the game that long you have to be able to throw strikes. He did all that and more today. He did a great job of keeping his pitch count down and getting some contact outs.”
Not even a line drive to the knee could stop the junior right-hander on this day. In the bottom of the eighth, Embry-Riddle’s Tyler Robbins lined a hard shot right back up the middle that bounced so hard off Thompson’s right knee that it landed almost at first baseman Brady Steiger’s feet.
The Warriors picked up the out, and Thompson resumed work on the mound after a quick jog and a few warm-up pitches.
“I think he was even a little bit better after that,” Robbins said. “Maybe it was a little bit of a wakeup call, but he was fine.”
He retired Jordan Romero for the third out of the eighth inning, and after Jeff Lemon singled to left field to lead off the ninth, Thompson picked off pinch-runner Alex Church to take the tying run off the bases. Thompson sat down the final two hitters of the game to polish off the victory.
“Our pitchers take pride in being athletic out there, and that helped Steve out big-time on that pick move,” Robbins said.
Shirley went 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored both Warrior runs. Steiger, who was named the NAIA National Player of the Week earlier Tuesday, singled and stole a base. Kyle Knigge had the only other hit for LCSC.
Garrett Wilson, owner of a 5-0 record and a 0.81 earned run average, gets the ball for Lewis-Clark State on Wednesday afternoon against Webber International. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.