DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Anthony Armanino dominated the seventh-ranked Embry-Riddle Eagles over the course of a complete-game four-hitter, and the Lewis-Clark State College offense erupted in the late innings in a 5-1 victory at Sliwa Stadium.
It was the 12th consecutive victory for the Warriors (24-5), and the fourth in as many games on their road trip in Florida.
Armanino struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in the game, and allowed just one run in the sixth inning against the Eagles (23-7).
“It’s definitely one of the better outings he’s had this year,” LCSC coach Jeremiah Robbins said of Armanino, who improved to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.53 on the season with the win. “He went out there and competed. It was two bulls going at it out there, and he had a really good mentality. He was matched up against a very good arm, and he did everything we asked.”
Kevin Maloney, the starter for Embry-Riddle, suffered the first loss of his collegiate career on Thursday. Maloney (5-1) was 24-0 in three seasons for the Eagles entering this game.
Armanino and Maloney traded scoreless innings until the Eagles broke through first in the sixth. After Liam Goodall reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, Jeff Lemon squirted a two-out RBI single through the right side to send Goodall to the plate. He scored just ahead of the throw from LCSC right fielder Kevin Knapp.
The Warriors struck back immediately, answering the challenge laid down by Robbins before the game.
“Our guys were called out a little bit on their effort last night. We challenged them to have better at-bats, and we did that earlier in the game and didn’t have anything to show for it,” Robbins said. “We had a very competitive effort today, all the way down to the guys coming in off the bench. Overall, it was one of the better games we played this season.”
In the top of the seventh, Bobby Joe Tannehill continued his hot hitting with a two-out single up the middle. Brian Corliss followed with a base hit through the right side to put runners on first and third and Knapp smacked a bouncer through the hole that brought in Tannehill to tie the game.
Armanino gave up a one-out double to Adam Cellini in the bottom of the seventh, but struck out Jordan Johnson to strand the runner in scoring position.
The Warriors got right back to work in the eighth, chasing Maloney with a single by Jake Shirley and a towering RBI double off the right field wall by Brady Steiger that Robbins said likely would have cleared the scoreboard at Harris Field.
Embry-Riddle overthrew two cutoff men on the play, enabling Shirley to score the go-ahead run all the way from first.
Ryan Sells greeted reliever Erick Green with a triple into the left-center field gap, scoring pinch-runner Tariq Staton to make the score 3-1. A walk to Jacob Cano ended Green’s quick outing, and pinch-hitter Cody Lavalli made it a three-run lead with a sacrifice fly off Embry-Riddle closer Ronnie Lozada that scored Sells.
Armanino retired the side in the eighth, and the Warriors tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a bases-loaded walk to Cano.
It was more than enough for Armanino. Robbins said he never considered pulling his ace lefty, especially after LCSC went up by four runs.
“He’s a true warrior out there,” Robbins said. “His pitch count was at a manageable number, and we liked the matchup against a lefty to start the inning. The one run in the top of the ninth gave us a little more leeway, but he never wants to come off the mound.”
Another 1-2-3 inning in the ninth ended the game.
“Our team is tough. They’ve been through a lot of stuff this year, and Embry-Riddle is a very good team, a great opponent for us,” Robbins said. “We did a very good job today of giving 100 percent innings for nine innings, and when you do that, good things happen.”
Sells, the designated hitter Thursday, will start Friday’s game against Embry-Riddle on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Pacific.