Whits Open Baseball Slate with 11-9 Loss
News Release Date:
Thursday, February 11
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A 7-2 lead after three innings slipped away as Whitman College opened its baseball season with an 11-9 11-inning loss to Whittier College at the Arizona Desert Classic in Anthem, Ariz.
Whittier, which opened its season this past week with three losses to Chapman University, used a hit-batter, stolen base and RBI-single in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 9-9 and force extra innings.
With one out in the top of the 11th, the Poets plated what proved to be the winning run on a walk and David Tucci's RBI-triple. Tucci scored the insurance run on a sacrifice fly to center field.
In the bottom of the 11th, Whitman senior Blaine Mercado led off with a single to right field but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. After junior Erik Korsmo followed with a double into the right-center gap, Whittier's Austin Straus got the next two outs to nail down the win.
Mercado, who pitched the first two innings for Whitman, had a big day at the plate with a triple, three singles and a base on balls in six trips. Korsmo also had four hits, including two doubles, as the Missionaries pounded out 19 hits in all.
Sophomore Eric Tolleson added three hits for Whitman, and freshmen Justin Weeks and Will Martin added two safeties apiece.
Whitman used seven pitchers with no one hurler going more than two innings on the hill. Whittier used five pitchers and finished with 16 hits.
The Missionaries tallied their first run of the season in the bottom of the first inning. Tolleson singled with one out, took second base on a wild pitch and scored on Korsmo's single.
Whitman opened the third inning with six consecutive singles to plate four runs and extend its lead to 7-2. After Mercado and Korso started the hit parade, senior Joe Rodhouse and Martin singled home the first two runs. Weeks singled to load the bases for senior Jason Sease, who rapped a pitch to left field for two more runs.
Whittier rallied with two runs in the fourth and three more in the sixth to pull even at 7-7. Whitman regained a one-run cushion in the bottom of the frame when Mercado tripled and trotted home on Korsmo's double.
The Poets again rallied to square the game at 8-8, but the Missionaries made it 9-8 with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Junior Jay Richards singled and later scored on back-to-back two-out singles by Tolleson and Mercado.
Today's game was played under mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the 60s. Whitman resumes tournament play at 10 a.m. Friday with a game against La Verne, which is 2-2 on the season after falling 10-9 earlier today to Linfield.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com