Baseball Sweep Slips Away in Ninth Inning
News Release Date:
Sunday, March 13
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College came within three outs of completing a three-game baseball sweep of Lewis & Clark on Sunday, but the Pioneers rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth to steal a 5-3 Northwest Conference victory at Borleske Stadium.
Whitman finished the weekend with records of 2-4 in the NWC and 3-14 overall.
Lewis & Clark, snapping a 12-game losing streak, improved to 1-8 in conference and 2-12 on the season.
Starting pitchers Eliot Smith for the Pioneers and Aaron Cohen for Whitman engaged in a pitching dual all afternoon.
Cohen scattered four hits over the first eight innings while striking out seven and walking seven. He held the upper hand and a 2-1 lead headed to the top of the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Michael Ball sparked the rally with a lead-off single in the Pioneer ninth. After an infield error put runners on first and second, Tucker Laurence bunted back to Cohen, who bobbled the ball for a moment before making a wild throw to third.
That miscue allowed the tieing run to score. A fielder's choice in the infield plated another run, giving Lewis & Clark a 3-2 lead.
With two outs in the inning, Smith helped his own cause with an RBI-double into the right-center field gap. That ended Cohen's day on the mound.
Reliever Dakota Matherly was victimized by Nick Lavin's bloop single to center that scored another run, upping the Pioneer lead to 5-2.
Whitman tried to bounce back in the bottom of the ninth. Kyle Buckham led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third base on a ground-out. A two-out infield error allowed Buckham to score, trimming Whitman's deficit to 5-3.
Cam Young kept the inning alive with a single to center, bringing the winning run to the plate in the person of Casey Minnick, who chopped a grounder off the plate to third base. The throw across the diamond nearly pulled Laurence, the first baseman, off the bag, but he kept contact long enough for the third and final out.
Smith gave up eight hits and five walks in throwing his complete game.
Lewis & Clark got its first run in the top of the second. Roland Greene led off with a double, moved to third when the next two batters were hit by pitches and then scored on an infield throwing error on what could have been a double play.
Whitman came right back to knot the game at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the inning. Cohen singled, Kyle Moyes walked and Buckham pushed a bunt single down the third-base line.
The throw to first base sailed into right field, allowing Cohen to score easily. Moyes made a wide turn around third and retreated to the bag as a hustling Buckham slid into the same base. With two runners on the same base, Buckham was called out.
Chris Konolige walked and Jimmy Madden was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Smith escaped further damage with an infield doubleplay ball.
Whitman grabbed its 2-1 lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Erik Korsmo drew a base on balls and scored all the way from first base after Cohen doubled into the right-center field gap, drawing a throw as he slid into second.
Whitman nearly added to its lead in the bottom of the eighth. Korsmo doubled with two outs and Cohen was given an intentional free pass. Moyes drilled a sinking liner to left field that an onrushing Sam Holman picked off his shoe tops for the third out.
Young, Korsmo, Cohen and Buckham had two hits each for Whitman.
Gianluca Giarrizzo had two hits for Lewis & Clark.
Whitman hits the road next weekend for three NWC games against Linfield in McMinnville, Ore.
Lewis & Clark is slated to host Corban in a non-conference game at 4 p.m. Tuesday and host Whitworth in a NWC three-game set next weekend.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org