CALDWELL, Idaho – The No. 7 Lewis-Clark State College baseball team put up 28 runs in a doubleheader sweep of College of Idaho on Saturday afternoon at Wolfe Field, rebounding from a tough Friday loss.
Three home runs and a solid start from Carsen Nylund combined for a 17-3 rout in the opener, and the Warriors held on for an 11-7 victory in the nightcap after a dominant outing on the mound from Steve Thompson.
Lewis-Clark State improves to 26-8 overall and 12-3 in the NAIA West Region with the pair of victories, and the Yotes drop to 17-14 overall and 8-7 in league play heading into Sunday’s series finale Sunday.
For the second day in a row, the Warriors got a first-inning home run, kicking off the first game of Saturday’s twinbill with a two-run blast from Brady Steiger. It was Steiger’s fourth homer of the season, and it set the stage for the offensive outburst to follow.
The Warriors added on single runs in the fourth and fifth innings against the Yotes and starter Michael Garza (1-4) before breaking the game open with three tallies in the sixth.
The Yotes got a run back in the bottom of the sixth, but LCSC opened the top of the seventh with five consecutive hits, and sent 13 batters to the plate in a seven-run inning.
Kyle Knigge’s two-run single and Ryan Sells’ two-run double were the big hits in the frame for the Warriors. For good measure, Lewis-Clark State tacked on three more runs in the top of the ninth, as Sells and Eric Peterson hit back-to-back home runs off reliever Gregg Simonds.
It was the fifth homer of the season for Sells, tying Cody Lavalli for the team lead, and it was Peterson’s second dinger of his senior campaign.
It was also the first time that LCSC has hit back-to-back bombs since Alfonso Casillas and Gino Casini accomplished the feat in 2011.
While the offense was humming, Nylund was stifling the Yotes on the mound. He improved to 4-0 on the season with seven innings of four-hit ball, allowing two runs while striking out two. He did not walk a batter.
Garrett Tygerson worked the last two innings for LCSC, the first outing for the Ashland, Ore. native since March 1.
Sells went 3-for-5 with five RBI in the game, and Knigge (3-for-4, two RBI, two runs) and Steiger (2-for-3, three RBI, two runs) also had big games offensively.
In the nightcap, the offense picked up right where it left off for LCSC, as the Warriors put up a five-spot on College of Idaho in the second inning.
LC batted around against Yotes starter George Casper as Peterson’s two-run single preceded a three-run homer by shortstop Bobby Joe Tannehill.
It was the second homer of the season for Tannehill, who went 2-for-3 in the game with three RBI and two runs scored.
The Warriors tacked on single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth against the Yotes and then three more in the seventh on consecutive two-out singles by Steiger and Lavalli.
Thompson (2-3) was cruising with the big cushion, and left the game after seven masterful innings of three-hit ball. He struck out nine Yote batters, eclipsing Nylund’s eight-strikeout performance against Menlo on March 9 as the highest punchout total for a Warrior pitcher in 2013.
Tyler Duffin replaced Thompson in the eighth, and didn’t give up any runs after loading the bases with two outs. After Brady Winfield retired the Warriors in order in the top of the ninth, Duffin got two outs after issuing a leadoff walk, putting LCSC on the brink of a shutout victory.
Things started to unravel a bit for the Warriors at that point, as College of Idaho put up seven runs on only two hits before Sells came off second base to strike out Simonds for the final out of the game. All told, the Warrior pitching staff had four hit batsmen and two walks in the inning, as the Yotes sent 11 men to the plate.
Offensively, each Warrior starter had at least one base hit in the nightcap, with six players registering multi-hit games.
Lewis-Clark State will look for the series victory on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for noon Pacific.