Whit Baseball Takes Two from Pioneers

News Release Date:
Saturday, March 13

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A pair of five-run innings, one in each end of Saturday's doubleheader, carried Whitman College to 7-5 and 9-7 Northwest Conference baseball victories over Lewis & Clark Saturday afternoon in Portland, Ore.

Whitman, which came within one bad inning of taking two of three games from Puget Sound last weekend, goes for the series sweep against Lewis & Clark when the two teams meet again at noon Sunday.

Whitman 7, LC 5
Game 1, Box Score

Whitman 9, LC 7
Game 2, Box Score

Improving to 3-2 in the NWC, the Missionaries rose to fourth place in the early season conference standings. Lewis & Clark slipped to 2-3 in conference.

Erik Korsmo

Down 5-2 in the opener, Whitman pushed across five runs in the top of the eighth to pull out the victory. Sophomore Eric Tolleson and senior Brian Kitamura both smacked two-run singles in the big inning.

After junior Erik Korsmo led off the inning with a double, senior Blaine Mercado singled and senior Jason Sease walked to load the bases. Senior Mitch Hannoosh then was hit by a pitch to force home the inning's first run.

Korsmo, who caught the first seven innings, pitched the last two frames, getting six consecutive outs to post the save. He struck out two.

After Sease tossed the first three innings for Whitman, freshman John Nortz threw the next four to register his first collegiate pitching victory. Nortz gave up lead-off singles in the the fourth and fifth innings, but Korsmo gunned down both runners attempting to steal second base.

John Nortz

Lewis & Clark scored a pair of runs, one of them unearned, in the sixth to extend its lead to 5-2.

The Missionaries stranded two runners in the sixth and was retired in order in the seventh before breaking through with the game-winning runs in the eighth.

Whitman plated its first two runs in the top of the fourth. Korsmo reached on an infield error, took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a ground-out. After Sease was hit by a pitch, senior Joe Rodhouse doubled home one run. Hannoosh knocked in a second run with another ground-out.

Brian Kitamura

Senior Brian Kitamura had a good game at the plate as Whitman's lead-off hitter, getting two hits in three official at-bats while also drawing two base on balls.

After coming from behind to win the opener, Whitman jumped on top in the nightcap, scoring three runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth to build a 9-4 lead. 

Tolleson started on the mound and went six innings, scattering five hits and giving up four runs (three earned) while fanning four to get the win. After Nortz returned to the hill to throw two more innings, Korsmo relieved again in the ninth to record his second save of the day.

Jay Richards

Korsmo's second save did not come easily, however. With two outs, he issued his third and fourth walks of the inning before Sam Holman knocked in two runs with an infield single. With the equalizing runs on base, Korsmo struck out the final hitter to nail down the win.

Tolleson's pitching victory was his first at Whitman. He made just two mound appearances last year as a freshman while he was rehabbing an injury.

Korsmo, who played right field over the first eight innings, paced the offense with three hits and five RBI. Senior Jay Richards, hitting in the No. 2 hole, also had three hits and scored three runs. Mercado was one-for-two at the plate with three walks.

Whitman evened the game at 1-1 in third inning on doubles by Richards and Korsmo.

Lewis & Clark moved in front 4-1, but the Missionaries scored three runs in the fifth to again knot the game. After Kitamura walked and Richards singled, Korsmo doubled home two runs and later scored on Mercado's single.

The Missionaries broke it open with their five-run sixth inning. After a Richards RBI-single, Korsmo stroked a two-run single, stole second base, took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. Sease doubled home the final run of the inning.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu