By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman
Sports Information Student Assistant
PORTLAND, Ore. - After a back and forth game through eight innings, division leading Whitworth scored four runs in the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie and win the series finale against Lewis & Clark, 10-6.
Aaron Landecker got the start for Lewis & Clark College pitching six complete and giving up five runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks. Landecker allowed the first batter of the game to score on a sacrifice, but came back strong to follow with four and two-thirds shutdown innings.
Lewis & Clark took advantage of erratic pitching in the bottom of the second, and scored their first runs of the game. After a leadoff single and hit batsman, Connor Eggleston sacrificed the runners over to second and third base. Tommy Massari hit a sac fly to center, moving EJ Hand to third and driving in Michael Kinkenon. Pirates' starter Nick Scourey hit his second batter of the inning, gave up a wild pitch, and issued a walk to load the bases before balking in the the go-ahead run.
Whitworth tied things up in the fifth on a sac fly to left, before retaking the lead in the sixth inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Paul Miller knocked a single to center plating the go-ahead run from second. The next batter hit a ball to second, which would have got the Pioneers out of the inning, however an error by the second baseman allowed Nate Lamberty to reach base safely and two more runs to score.
Lewis & Clark started to chip away at Whitworth's 5-2 lead in the later innings and drove in a two-out run in the seventh. Bradley Lezak was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a single by Hayden Higger. Eric Huyn then clocked an RBI single to left center, driving in Lezak.
Whitworth retaliated with a run of their own in the next half inning, plating Miller on a sac fly.
The Pioneer bats broke through in the home half of the eighth and scored three runs in the penultimate inning. After a leadoff walk by Hand, and a base hit by Sean Shepherd, Pirates' reliever Tyler VonDracek was pulled for JT Phelan. Phelan struck out the first two he faced, but pinch hitter Connor Sick pulled a two-out double down the left field line to drive in Hand. Lezak singled up the middle to knot the game at six, but was gunned down stealing second for the third out of the inning.
Unfortunately, after grinding out four late runs to tie the game, Lewis & Clark walked the bases loaded in the top half of the ninth, leading to a Whitworth sac fly. With the score 7-6, the Pioneers were an out away from escaping the inning with limited damage, but Thomas Wakem crushed a three run home run to cement the four run frame. The Pirates' lead was enough to win the game and extended their winning streak to 10 straight.
The Pioneers travel to Walla Walla on Friday to open a three game series against Whitman College at 3 p.m.