Bloop Baseball Single Plates Winning Run in 4-3 Pioneer Win
News Release Date:
Saturday, March 31
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Nick Lavin's run-scoring bloop single to left field proved to be the difference as Lewis & Clark nipped Whitman College 4-3 in Northwest Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.
Lewis & Clark also jumped to a 4-2 lead to start Saturday's second game, which was stopped by steady rain after four innings.
After a lengthy rain delay, the two teams decided to call it a day and resume play at noon Sunday.
Once game two is finished Sunday, the third game of the series will be played -- weather permitting, of course.
In Saturday's opener, Lewis & Clark pieced together a string of three two-out singles in the top of the fourth inning to score a run and stretch its lead to 4-2. Lavin got the last of those three hits, muscling a ball off the handle of his bat into shallow left.
Whitman narrowed the gap to 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the fifth. After freshman MacLean Harned was hit by a pitch early in the inning, freshman Peter Valentine rifled a two-out single to center that skipped past the outfielder. That allowed a run to score all the way from first while Valentine scooted into second.
Valentine then stole third base but was left stranded when Lewis & Clark starter, and eventual game winner, Michael Ball fanned the next hitter.
Valentine nearly tied the game with one swing of the bat in the eighth, but his lead-off liner to left careened off the top of the wall for a double.
Whitman's next hitter, sophomore Cam Young, rapped a sharp grounder back to Ball, who whirled to catch Valentine in no-man's land. By the time Valentine was tagged near the third-base bag, Young had raced into scoring position at second.
With sophomore Aaron Cohen at the plate for Whitman, Young took off from second on an attempted steal of third. Cohen lined the pitch directly at the Lewis & Clark center fielder, who caught the ball and threw to second to double off Young.
Ball then retired Whitman in order in the bottom of the ninth to get the complete game victory. He scattered six hits, walked four and hit a batter.
Ball helped his own cause, collecting three hits while batting third in the Lewis & Clark order as its designated hitter. One of his three hits was a double that contributed to a two-run Pioneer first inning.
Whitman countered with a run in the bottom of the first when Valentine tripled to center and scored on Young's sacrifice fly to center.
The Missionaries trimmed their deficit to 3-2 with a run in the third inning. Freshman Jonny Chow reached on a two-out infield single, swiped second base and scored on Valentine's single to right.
Valentine finished the game with four of Whitman's six hits.
Lavin and Parker Dane joined Ball in three-hit days for Lewis & Clark. Eric Hyun and Mike Kinkenon had two hits apiece for the Pioneers.
Senior Justin Weeks started on the mound for Whitman and went eight innings, giving up 12 hits. He fanned five and didn't walk a batter.
Freshman Spencer Hobson pitched a scoreless ninth for Whitman.
Lewis & Clark, now 3-10 in the NWC, is 6-23 on the season. The Missionaries dropped to 2-11 in conference and 2-23 overall.
As rain started falling at the outset of game two, both teams pushed across a run in the first inning.
Hyun tripled and scored on Parker's sacrifice fly for Lewis & Clark. Valentine drew a one-out walk for Whitman, moved to second on Young's single, tagged and took third base when Cohen popped out down the right-field line, and scored on a wild pitch.
Whitman snared a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third when Chow tripled to right and scored on Valentine's ground-out.
With a steady rain starting to create patches of mud in the infield, Lewis & Clark took the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth. Ball crushed an RBI-triple to center and later scored to account for the first two runs.
An infield error led to a third run and a 4-2 Lewis & Clark lead. After Whitman was retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, tarps were placed on the field.
Ryan Strombom started on the hill for the Pioneers in the second game, scattering two hits and two walks while striking out four.
Freshman Will Thompson started for Whitman, fanning six while giving up four hits and three earned runs.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org