Warriors Rally Past Whits to Sweep Saturday's Baseball Twinbill
News Release Date:
Saturday, February 25
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Scoring the bulk of its runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, Eastern Connecticut State swept a pair of Saturday baseball games from Whitman College in blustery and oh-so cold conditions at Borleske Stadium.
The Warriors held off Whitman for a 12-9 victory in the opener and did all of their scoring in the late innings to rally past the Missionaries 12-7 in the nightcap.
Looking for its first victory of the season, Whitman held a 6-0 lead after six innings of the second game before Eastern Connecticut took advantage of four unearned runs in the seventh to jump back into the contest.
The Warriors then took the lead with a five-run eighth and added three runs in the ninth to complete their doubleheader sweep.
Whitman's collapse late in game two negated a fine pitching performance by freshman starter Will Thompson, who blanked the Warriors for six innings before a two-out error in the seventh opened the floodgates.
Thompson gave up singles -- one of them a bunt single -- to two of the first three batters he faced in the first inning.
After that, however, the 6-foot-1 right-hander retired 18 of the next 19 Warriors who stepped into the batter's box. Apart from a two-out base on balls in the third inning, Thompson kept the opposition off the base paths until T.J. Larivee singled through the left side with one out in the seventh.
One out later, an infield bobble gave Eastern Connecticut an opening. A tiring Thompson walked the next two hitters to force home a run. Brendan Lynch then slapped a two-run single up the middle, trimming Whitman's lead to 6-3.
A hit-batsman followed by an infield single made it 6-4 and ended Thompson's outing. Freshman lefty Griffin Sutich got a ground ball to second base to end the inning.
In the Eastern Connecticut eighth, three consecutive one-out walks -- two of them on full-counts -- loaded the sacks for Mitch Plourde, who crushed a one-hop bullet past the third baseman to plate two runs and even the score at 6-6.
After another pitching change, yet another full-count base on balls and a wild pitch gave the Warriors a 7-6 lead. Back-to-back RBI-singles widened Whitman's deficit to 9-6.
The Missionaries tried to rally in the bottom of the eighth. Freshman Peter Valentine singled and sophomore Aaron Cohen walked, but two strike-outs ended that threat.
Eastern Connecticut added to its lead in the ninth when Kyle Hart hammered a two-run home run to left field. Two more walks, a wild pitch and a run-scoring fielder's choice gave the visitors a 12-6 cushion.
It was too little and too late, but Whitman tacked on its last run in the bottom of the ninth. Freshman Eli Mathieu and sophomore Chris Konolige led off the inning by drawing walks, and Mathieu later scored when sophomore Kyle Buckham grounded out to second base.
Whitman used three infield hits and a Warrior throwing error to score its first run in the first inning. After Buckham and Cohen collected the first safeties, Buckham moved to third base and scored with two outs when sophomore Jimmy Madden singled to the left side.
Valentine and sophomore Cam Young ripped RBI-doubles in the second inning to extend Whitman's lead to 3-0.
The Missionary lead grew to 5-0 in the fourth when Young walked, swiped second base and scored ahead of Cohen's home run over the left-field fence.
Whitman tacked on its sixth run in the sixth inning when Buckham doubled to the left-field wall and scored on Cohen's line-shot single to right field.
Both teams finished the second game with nine hits. Steve Cammuso had three hits for the Warriors while Cohen reached base five times with three hits and two walks for Whitman.
In Saturday's opener, Eastern Connecticut bolted out of the gates with seven runs in the first three innings. Joe Balowski and Larivee both popped two-run doubles to power that early surge.
Whitman started to come back with two runs in the fifth. After Valentine singled home one run, Young singled and Cohen walked to force home another.
The Missionaries drew within 7-6 on the scoreboard with a four-run sixth inning. Sophomore Kyle Moyes led off with a single and later scored after two walks and a hit-batter. Valentine then cleared the bases with a triple into the left-center gap.
Eastern Connecticut scored three runs in its next two at-bats, but Whitman closed to 10-7 with a run in the bottom of the eighth. A hit-batter, walk and Buckham's single loaded the bases for Valentine, who got the runner home from third with a ground-out.
The Warriors scored twice more in the top of the ninth for a 12-7 lead.
Whitman got off to a promising start with its last licks in the bottom of the ninth. After Madden was hit by a pitch, Moyes homered to left field. The next Missionary batter reached on an infield error, but a double play helped reliever Evan Chamberlain nail down the victory.
Eastern Connecticut used six pitchers in all to get through its first-game triumph. Its third hurler, Alex Julian, got the win.
Whitman sophomore Dakota Matherly, who relieved to start the third, tossed five good innings, scattering five hits while giving up two runs and striking out three.
The Warriors out-hit Whitman 15-10 in the opener with Balowski knocking in three runs with three hits. Valentine knocked in five runs with two hits for the Missionaries.
Whitman, now 0-11 on the season, looks for its first victory when the two teams finish their weekend series with a single game at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Eastern Connecticut, ranked No. 9 in one NCAA DIII preseason poll, is 3-0 to start its season.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org