CALDWELL, Idaho – Cody Lavalli staked the seventh-ranked Lewis-Clark State College baseball team to an early two-run lead with his fifth home run of the season, but the College of Idaho rallied for a 3-2 victory in the opener of a four-game series between the teams on Friday at Wolfe Field.
The Yotes struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of LCSC starter Anthony Armanino, and the Warrior offense couldn’t cash in on its opportunities in the loss.
Lewis-Clark State falls to 24-8 overall and 10-3 in NAIA West play heading into the remainder of the series, which continues with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific.
Armanino fell to 6-2 on the season in the tough-luck loss, allowing seven hits and three earned runs in his seven innings of work. He struck out six and walked three.
The Warriors got on the board in their first at-bat against College of Idaho starter Parker Vernon, whom LCSC beat on Feb. 16 during the Guardian Tournament at Harris Field.
Brian Corliss stroked a one-out double to left center field to start the rally, and with two outs, Lavalli took a 2-2 offering from Vernon over the right-center field fence for his fifth homer.
The Warriors had opportunities to build on that lead in the next two frames, but weren’t able to cash in with runners in scoring position.
College of Idaho tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth, as Gregg Simonds tripled to left-center with two outs against Armanino. Catcher Jake Hennessey followed with an infield hit on which Armanino failed to make a tough bare-hand play to end the inning.
Vernon and Armanino traded zeroes until the seventh, when Simonds was again the catalyst for the Yotes, leading the inning off with a double.
After a pop-up and a strikeout, Simonds advanced to third on Tom LaMue’s pinch-hit infield single. LaMue stole third, and Riley Humberger skied a ball to center field that got lost in the sun, allowing both the tying and go-ahead runs to score for the Yotes.
The Warriors put runners on first and third with two outs in the eighth, but Vernon got Kyle Blackwell to line out sharply to shortstop to end the threat.
David Murillo struck out the side in the top of the ninth in relief for LCSC, but College of Idaho’s Ryan Eddy evaded a pair of Warrior hits in his first appearance out of the bullpen to retire the Warriors in the ninth.
Corliss, Blackwell and Brady Steiger had two hits apiece for Lewis-Clark State, which out-hit the Yotes 11-7 in the game.