By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman
Sports Information Student Assistant
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark baseball team dropped its Northwest Conference double-header against Pacific on Sunday afternoon after being forced to sit through rough winds and rain. The Boxers won the opening contest 10-7, before winning the second 9-3.
On a damp and windy day in Portland, the Pacific Boxers stormed their way back from a two-run deficit in Game One, via a six-run eighth inning to defeat the Lewis & Clark College Pioneers 10-7.
The Boxers struck first in the first, for two runs off of starter John Trupin. After a pair of one-out singles to put runners at first and third, Walker Olis drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field. Fernando Careaga then came up to bat and contributed a single of his own. On a ball hit to the shortstop, Careaga beat out a bad throw to first, and the throwing error allowed the lead runner advance to third. Tanner Mansell hit the fourth single of the inning, driving in Nathan Suyematsu to make the score 2-0. Trupin limited the damage by getting the next batter to ground out to short.
Lewis & Clark was set down in order in the bottom half of the first, and the Boxers' second inning was just as quiet.
With two outs in the second, Sean Shepherd hit a chopper on the left side of the infield. Pacific's third baseman, Cole Kanazawa, fielded the ball well but threw it errantly to first, pulling first baseman Austin Gallagher off the bag. Connor Eggleston added an infield single to the mix, grounding one to the pitcher and beating out the throw to first. With men on first and second, Akira Abderrahman smacked a single through the right side, driving in Shepherd and sending Eggleston on to third. However, the two-out rally was short-lived as the next batter grounded out to the pitcher.
The Pioneers and Boxers remained quiet the next two innings as Trupin began to settle in, facing the minimum in innings three and four. Despite his success, Pacific's batters adjusted their timing and began hitting Trupin again in the top of the fifth.
The first two batters of the inning reached base on a line drive up the middle and a bloop single into shallow right field. After a wind related on field delay, Suyematsu laid down a bunt in front of the plate, and loaded the bases with nobody out. The Pioneers caught a break when Walker Olis grounded into a 5-2-3 double play. Despite the double play, Lewis & Clark was unable to retire the next batter and escape the inning unscathed. Careaga hit a ball to center, driving in two with a two-out single to increase The Boxers' lead to 3-0.
Lewis & Clark retaliated in the bottom of the fifth, playing small ball, to drive in two runs of their own. After a second wind related on-field delay, Ben Beck hit a routine ground ball to Pacific's shortstop, Suyematsu. Suyematsu bobbled the ball and failed to get off a throw to first, allowing Beck to reach on the error. Nick Lockwood then turned on a 1-1 pitch low and inside to sneak a single through the right side, prompting a meeting on the mound. Mike Kinkenon laid down a sac bunt advancing the runners to second and third before Tommy Massari and EJ Hand each drove in a run with infield ground outs.
Things were again quiet until the seventh. In the top of the inning Pacific threatened with runners at the corners and two outs. With the count 0-1, the runner at first base, Tanner Mansell, took off for second. Trupin delivered his pitch, which was swung on and missed, and catcher Mike Kinkenon prepared to gun the runner down. Halfway to second, Mansell stopped dead in his tracks and Kinkenon instead threw the ball back to his starting pitcher. Trupin noticed the runner at third who had begun to move toward home as Kinkenon prepared his throw to second, and instead fired a bullet to third baseman Connor Eggleston who applied the tag to end the inning.
In the home half of the seventh, the L&C bats began to get hot. Beck led off with a double to left, Kinkenon walked and Tommy Massari served a 1-1 fastball up the middle for an RBI single. Hand followed suit and laced an RBI double to left which rolled to the wall. After a six-pitch at bat, Shepherd collected his second RBI of the day with a sac fly to center. By the end of the inning the Pioneers led the Boxers 6-4.
Things became unhinged for Lewis & Clark in the top of the eighth inning. After allowing two base runners, Beck took over on the mound for Trupin. The first batter Beck faced doubled down the left field line, driving in two and tying the game at 6. After a pair of walks--one intentional, one not--Caraega drove in Duerr with his fourth hit of the day, and Wyatt Moore hit a bases clearing double to make the score 10-6 Pacific.
The Pioneers attempted to rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, loading the bases with a trio of one-out singles. Shepherd drove in one with a fielder's choice, but reliever Kyle Kotchik was able to secure the victory by popping the final batter out to center.
In Sunday's second match between Lewis & Clark College and Pacific University, the runs, much like the rain, came at a more consistent pace.
Pioneer starter, Ryan Strombom started the game well, setting down the first three in order, but struggled to polish off batters throughout the rest of the game.
In the second inning, Strombom allowed a 3-2 single through the left side. The next batter, Fernando Careaga knocked an RBI double down the right field line but was thrown out trying to stretch his two-bagger into a triple. Josh Keithly then lifted a fly ball out to center which was met by a sliding Ben Beck to retire the side.
After retiring the first two batters of the third via strike-out, the Pioneers allowed an infield single to Ben Duerr who advanced on a wild throw from short to first. Strombom got the next hitter to ground a ball to second, but the ball was misplayed, rolling into right field allowing Duerr to score and the batter to advance to second on the throw home. After two more batters Strombom got his third out of the inning via a pop up to first.
The Boxers tacked another run to the board in the fourth. After Careaga and Keithly hit back to back one-out singles, Danny Yazzolino plated Careaga on a sacrifice to make the score 3-0.
Rain began to fall more steadily in the 5th and as the conditions became wetter, Strombom struggled with his command. On a 1-2 count, he came too far inside, hitting Duerr. The next batter turned on another two strike pitch, singling to right-center and sending Duerr to third. Despite working another two-strike count with Nathan Suyematsu at bat, Strombom walked the batter to load the bases. The Pioneer starter cranked out three strikes on four pitches to the next batter to acquire his first out of the inning, but lost control of the ball hitting the next batter and allowing Duerr to score. Strombom came off the mound, articulating to the home plate umpire that he lost control of the pitch, who then made the call to cover up the field.
The Boxers and Pioneers suffered a 32 minute rain delay before the tarps were pulled off and play could resume.
When play resumed, Strombom retired the next two batters, but allowed a run to score on a sacrifice.
After being one-hit through four innings, Lewis & Clark broke through in the fifth to score their first runs of the game. With a runner on first, Tommy Massari hit a two out double to left putting two runners in scoring position. Conor Eggleston then smacked a liner to left plating two on his base hit. Eggleston advanced to second on a wild pitch and Carter Bagley drove him in on single to center, bringing the Pioneers within two.
Pitching dominated the next two innings and in the eighth inning Strombom, who finished the day with 13 strikeouts, was lifted for Aaron Landecker. Landecker hit a batter with his first pitch. After a sac bunt and a walk on four straight pitches he was replaced on the mound by Finn Isaacson. Isaacson gave up a two-RBI double and a wild pitch and the Pioneers replaced their battery once again. Keean Kondo gave up a two-run home run to Duerr which pushed the score to 9-3 Pacific. The Pioneers would go through 4 more batters and another pitcher before ending the inning.
The final nine defensive outs were collected with little resistance and the Boxers claimed their second victory of the day in a little over three and a half hours.
The two sides will finish the NWC series on Monday, March 16 at 3 p.m. at the Huston Sports Complex.