The No. 10 Lewis-Clark State College baseball team wrapped up its regular season with a pair of victories over NCAA Division III programs at the Inland Cellular Tournament at Harris Field on Sunday.
The Warriors got a combined six-hitter from Carsen Nylund and Seth Haehl to beat Pacific Lutheran 10-1 in their first game on Sunday before pounding out 10 extra-base hits in a 20-9 thrashing of Whitworth in the finale.
Sunday’s victories completed a three-game offensive explosion by the Warriors in the tournament. LCSC also put up 20 runs against Linfield on Saturday, and combined for 50 runs on 57 hits in the Inland Cellular Tournament.
The Warriors will carry that offensive momentum into the Avista NAIA World Series, which begins at Harris Field on May 24. That’s the next time Lewis-Clark State will take the field, a span of 19 days.
“It was great to see us leave it all out on the field today,” LCSC coach Jeremiah Robbins said. “It was a long day for us, but we stuck to an approach. I thought we swung the bats really well today and in the whole weekend against some tough competition. It was good to see multiple guys have success.”
The Warriors also closed out the regular season inside the top 10 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. LCSC was ranked 10th in the final edition of the rankings, released Sunday by the national office.
In Sunday’s first game, the Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 on Brady Steiger’s first-inning RBI single. The hit parade started there and didn’t end until the final out of the Whitworth game over five hours later.
Eric Peterson went 5-for-9 on Sunday to raise his season batting average to .402. He homered against PLU and Whitworth, the latter a mammoth shot over the batter’s eye in straightaway center field.
A seventh-inning solo homer by the Lutes’ Collin Nilson was the lone blemish against the Warriors in the opening game, as LCSC put up four runs apiece in the fourth and eighth innings.
Against Whitworth later in the day, Lewis-Clark State trailed for the first time all weekend as the Pirates scored two first-inning runs off Warrior starter Steve Thompson. The lead would be short-lived, as the LCSC offense promptly put up seven runs on Whitworth in the bottom of the first. None of the runs were earned, as a pair of Pirate errors proved very costly.
The Warriors scored in six of their eight turns at-bat against four Whitworth pitchers and got contributions from all over the lineup.
Peterson went 4-for-5 with six RBI and three runs scored, and Tariq Staton went 4-for-5 with three doubles and four RBI out of the ninth spot in the batting order.
Sako Chapjian, who had been limited in the last month of the season due to injury, went 6-for-8 with a double and a home run on Sunday.
“It was a prove-it weekend for this team, and I think we did that,” Robbins said. “We’d lost a little bit of that confidence and that swagger, and I think we got it back this weekend. The mentality and approach were there.”
Robbins said that he plans to give his team, which has several key players working their way back to 100 percent, some time off between now and the end of the school term.
“They need a break, and they need to step away from the game for a little bit,” Robbins said. “But soon we’ll be back practicing hard and building on the confidence we gained this weekend. But our big hope is to be completely healthy by the time the World Series starts.”