Baseball Team 2 - 2 After Offensive Explosion Vs. Whittier
Anthem, Ariz. – The Whitman Missionaries kicked off the 2013 Arizona Classic with a win over the Whittier College Poets in the early game before falling to the University of La Verne Leopards in the afternoon.
Junior pitcher Brett Lambert started for Whitman against Whittier, going five and two-thirds innings and striking out five batters. He picked up the win, moving to 1-0 on the season. Coach Kinney noted, “Days like today when I see Brett warming up in the bullpen, I start thinking to myself, ‘That doesn’t look fun to try to hit.’ Those are the days I feel like we only need to put a couple rallies together and that should be enough.”
The offense would supply more than enough support throughout the game, with three big innings. Juniors Kyle Moyes, Cam Young, and Aaron Cohen each had three runs batted in, going a combined six for eleven against Poet pitching.
However, Whittier was the first team on the scoreboard when Corey Jensen and Stephen Zavala both doubled to give the Poets an early 1-0 lead. The Missionaries stormed back with three runs in their half of the first inning. Junior Kyle Buckham singled to lead off and scored on a fielder’s choice by Moyes. Young doubled, scoring Moyes, and Cohen’s timely two-out RBI single put the score at 3-1.
The game went back and forth until the top of the fourth inning when Lambert retired the Poets in order, with the game tied 4-4. Whitman proceeded to put up five runs in the bottom half of the inning, pushing the lead to 9-4. Freshmen Paul Heywood and Ozzy Braff singled early in the inning and Young provided the big hit with a laser off the centerfield wall for a two-RBI triple.
After another quick inning by Lambert, the Missionaries played a different brand of baseball. They ended up scoring four runs on two hits thanks to good approaches at the dish and situational hitting. “Face it, hitting is hard,” said Kinney. “Round bat, round ball, and the pitcher gets a hill to throw off of. There are ways to put innings together without knocking the cover off the ball. The guys did a great job of that in fifth today.”
Whittier would claw back to within four runs to make it 13-9 later in the game. A clutch double play ball induced by senior pitcher Tyler Grisdale to end the seventh inning and two solid innings of work from freshman pitcher Robert Maislin sealed the deal for the Missionaries. Maislin picked up his second save of the season allowing no runs and only two hits.
The second game of the double header proved to be tough sledding against the 2012 SCIAC Conference Champions. La Verne, ranked #44 in the D3baseball preseason poll, scored early and often as they went on to beat the Missionaries 21-3. It was pitcher by committee for the Leopards with J.C. Barcelo picking up the win in three and two-thirds innings of work.
Juniors Kyle Buckham, Jimmy Madden, and Cam Young each had two hits for Whitman, with Buckham scoring two runs. Young supplied the other run with a towering homerun to deep left centerfield in the top of the sixth inning. Sophomores Jonny Chow and Peter Carmichael each recorded their first hits of the season against the Leopards.
Sophomore Will Thompson picked up the loss in four innings of work, falling to 0-1. Freshman John Lee threw two and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up only one earned run. The game was finished off by sophomore Eli Mathieu throwing two-thirds of scoreless ball.
“That’s a tournament team there,” said Kinney. “And, we needed to see that. They throw to spots, play fundamentally sound defense and don’t try to do too much with the bat. It sounds simple, but you have to work hard at it in order to get it done every day.”
Kinney added, “I’m still incredibly proud of our guys for not giving in. We had guys come off the bench and do great things out there. At the end of the day, I can think of worse things than going 1-1 against two good SCIAC teams.”
Whitman moved to 2-2 on the season, with Whittier falling to 0-1 and La Verne moving to 2-0. The Missionaries continue the 2013 Arizona Classic with Hardin-Simmons University tomorrow at 10am local time.
Sean Kinney and Brian Kitamura were main contributors to this story.
Totals for both games below
Game 1: Whitman 13, Whittier 9
Whittier 1 2 1 0 0 3 2 0 0 9
Whitman 3 1 0 5 4 0 0 0 x 13
Lambert, W, 5.1 Inn, 2 ER, 5K
Spilinek, H, 1 Inn, 2 ER
Grisdale, H, 0.2 Inn, 0 ER, K
Maislin, SV, 2 Inn, 0 ER, K
Buckham, 3-4, 4 runs scored
Braff, 2-4, 2 BB
Young, 2-3, 3B, 3 RBI
Cohen 2-3, 2 RBI
Heywood, 2-3, 2 runs
Game 2: La Verne 22, Whitman 3
Whitman 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 3
La Verne 1 4 0 4 6 0 1 0 6 22
Thompson, L, 4 Inn, K
Coppinger, 0.2 Inn
Lee 2.2 Inn
Mathieu 0.2 Inn, K
Buckham 2-3, 2 runs
Moyes 2-5, 2B, RBI
Young 2-2, HR, SB, RBI
Baseball Coach Sean Kinney contributed to this story
Whitman Sports Information Director