Whitman Slugs, Pitches Way to Two Sunday Baseball Victories
News Release Date:
Sunday, April 1
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A whole handful of freshmen and sophomores played key roles as Whitman College slugged and pitched its way to 7-5 and 11-2 Northwest Conference baseball victories over Lewis & Clark Sunday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.
The two Whitman victories offset Lewis & Clark's 4-3 win in Saturday's first game.
Whitman has now taken two of three games from the Pioneers in each of the past three seasons.
Sunday's action got underway with continuation of Saturday's second game, which was halted by persistent rain after four innings with Lewis & Clark on top 4-2.
Freshman Peter Valentine erased Whitman's deficit in the bottom of the fifth when he launched a towering three-run homer over the fence in left-center. It was his third homer of the season.
After Lewis & Clark pulled even at 5-5, Valentine singled and sophomore Cam Young doubled to ignite a two-run seventh inning that carried the Missionaries to victory.
Freshman right-hander Will Thompson, who tossed the game's first four innings for Whitman on Saturday, gave way at the start of play on Sunday to freshman lefty Spencer Hobson.
Hobson responded in fine fashion, throwing four innings of strong relief to pick up his first collegiate pitching victory. He gave up just one run on four hits while striking out five.
With Whitman clinging to a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth, Lewis & Clark's Nick Lavin led off with an infield single and steamed into second base on an errant throw to first. But Hobson kept Whitman's lead intact, fanning the next two hitters before getting the third out on a ground ball to short.
Hobson bent just a bit but didn't break in the top of the seventh. A double, sacrifice bunt and walk gave Lewis & Clark runners at the corners for Michael Ball, who laced a two-strike, two-out run-scoring single into left field.
With the game tied at 5-5, Hobson walked the next hitter to load the bases. The count also ran full on the next hitter before Hobson ended the threat with a strike-out.
After Whitman regained the lead at 7-5, Lewis & Clark challenged one final time in the ninth against sophomore closer Brett Lambert.
Lambert, working his way back into form after losing last season to injury, walked two of the first three batters he faced, and a passed ball put the equalizing runs in scoring position at second and third with just one out.
But Lambert soon closed the door on his second collegiate save, throwing a third strike past the next hitter before getting the final out on a ground ball to second.
Valentine, who had four hits in Saturday's first game, had two more hits (plus a base on balls) in game two. He had a hand in all seven Missionary runs, knocking in four while scoring three.
Chow and Young also added two hits apiece in the 7-5 game-two victory. Lewis & Clark got two hits apiece from Ball and Geoff Wertz.
Ryan Strombom, who tossed the first four innings for Lewis & Clark on Saturday, went back to the hill when play resumed on Sunday and pitched into the seventh inning.
As Sunday's stiff winds waned and dark skies gave way to bits of sunshine, Whitman's offense, defense and pitching seemed to blossom all at once as the Missionaries rolled to their 11-2 romp in the series finale.
Jake Nelson, the lone senior on Whitman's roster, started on the mound and walked the first two Pioneers in the first. But sophomore third baseman Chris Andrews picked a hard one-hopper at the hot corner to start a double play and defuse any thoughts of an early Pioneer outburst.
In the bottom of the first, Valentine blooped a single to center, Young walked on four pitches and sophomore Aaron Cohen rifled a run-scoring double into the left-field corner for a 1-0 Whitman lead.
While showing signs of life, Whitman's attack continued to sputter for the next few innings as the Missionaries left a total of eight runners stranded over the first three frames.
The Pioneers evened the game at 1-1 in the fourth when Kris Brown rapped an RBI-single through the left side of the infield. With one out and the sacks full, Nelson bounced back from a 3-0 count to strike out the next hitter. A ground-out ended the inning.
Lewis & Clark starter Mike Hathaway tired in the bottom of the fourth, walking Chow, yielding Valentine's single to left and hitting Young to fill the bases. Hathaway then hit Cohen with another pitch, forcing home a run and ending his stint on the mound.
Reliever Klyle Tibbett got one out, but sophomore Jimmy Madden lifted a run-scoring sacrifice fly to right and sophomore Chris Konolige ripped an RBI-single to left.
With Whitman up 4-1, freshman lefty Griffin Sutich relieved Nelson to start the fifth and mowed down the first eight batters he faced. Eric Hyun broke the spell with a two-out single in top of seventh, but Sutich fanned the next hitter.
Meanwhile, the Missionary offense had extended its lead to 8-1 with a four-run sixth inning. After Cohen, sophomore Kyle Moyes and Madden generated one run with three straight singles, Andrews knocked an RBI-sacrifice fly into right field and Chow ripped a two-run double over the left fielder's head.
When Whitman sent Cohen to the mound for the top of the eighth, Lewis & Clark tried to parlay a few bits of good fortune into a late rally. A bloop single to right field followed by an infield hit and single through the right side loaded the bases for Mike Kinkenon, who rapped a hard ground ball toward the third base bag.
But Andrews was there to make a sliding stop and trigger his second double play of the game. He popped out of his slide to touch the bag for one out and make the toss across the diamond for a second out. A run scored on the play, but Cohen got the next hitter on a fly ball to keep Whitman's lead at 8-2.
The Missionaries then added to that cushion with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. After sophomore Jonny Lari singled, Chow was hit by a pitch and Valentine reached on an infield error, Young shot a two-run single into left. A third run scored on a passed ball.
Valentine pitched the top of the ninth for Whitman, getting three outs while hitting a batter.
After Nelson scattered four hits and three walks in four innings of work, Sutich got his pitching victory with three innings of one-hit ball.
Valentine, Young and Cohen had two hits each for Whitman. Chow, Young, Cohen and Madden all knocked in two runs.
Whitman, now 4-11 in the NWC, heads to Forest Grove, Ore., next weekend for a three-game series against Pacific. Two games are set for Friday, starting at noon, with the third game slated for noon on Saturday.
Lewis & Clark hosts Whitworth on Friday and Saturday.
|Cam Young slides home with a run in Sunday's second game.|
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com