By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Student Assistant
HILLSBORO, Ore. -- A stellar debut by freshman Nathan Klein, alongside continuous Pioneer hitting, allowed Lewis & Clark to cruise to a 7-0 victory over the Whitman Missionaries in their preseason matchup Friday at Ron Tonkin Field.
Klein, a 6'3" righty out of Juneau-Douglas High School, was given an early opportunity Saturday, to put his talents on display for the Pioneers, and did not disappoint. The freshman went seven shutout innings, giving up only three hits, walking one and collecting three strikeouts along the way.
After Lewis & Clark failed to cash in on a bases-loaded opportunity in the top of the first, Nathan Klein, set down the first three Missionaries he faced, in order, quickly getting the Pios back out to the plate.
The Pioneers broke through in the second inning, capitalizing on an early Whitman error. Akira Abderrahman lead off with a single to second, before freshman Max Haddad laid down a sac bunt to move LC's designated hitter into scoring position. After working a 1-1 count, Bradley Lezak popped up a ball to left, which appeared would end the inning. However, Anthony Lim misplayed the ball, letting it drop, and allowed Abderrahman to come in to score from second.
Lewis & Clark widened their slim, one-run lead in the third, once again taking advantage of defensive miscues by the Missionaries. With one out, Sean Shepherd reached base safely on a fielding error by third baseman, Joseph Zimmer. The error proved to be costly, as Connor Eggleston doubled to right-center, one pitch later, plating Shepherd. Cooper Larson then drove in Eggleston with his first collegiate hit, a double to left, to grow the Pioneers lead to 3-0. Whitman's Henry Lin dialed it up a bit, striking out the next batter on three pitches, however, Nick Lockwood was able to bring home Larson on an RBI single to right, tallying the Pios' fourth run of the day.
Whitman appeared to have trouble brewing in the bottom of the third, as their first two batters reached base safely. However, Klein induced a popup, which his batterymate, Larson, put away for the first out. The Pio righty, then got Lucas Thrun to ground into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
Lezak lead off the fourth with a walk, before advancing to second on Ben Beck's sac bunt. Two batters later, Shepherd cranked a double to left-center, scoring Lezak, and pushing the score to 5-0.
With 99 pitches thrown and facing a 5-0 deficit, the Missionaries pulled their starter, Lin, for relief to begin the fifth. Matt Hill entered the game, and quickly worked himself into a one-out situation, with runners at second and third. However, the Whitman righty was able to escape the inning unscathed.
Hill also worked out of trouble in the sixth, ending a bases loaded threat via 1-2 double play.
Whitman turned to the pen again in the seventh, calling on Patrick Stanton to take over on the mound. Lewis & Clark converted Stanton's first two pitches for baserunners, as Abderrahman laced a double down the right field line and Lockwood took a ball to the body. Haddad worked a full count before loading the bases with a single through the left side. With the bases loaded and no outs, Bradley Lezak looked at four straight balls and forced home Abderrahman. Two batters later, Tommy Massari reached base safely on a fielder's choice, scoring Max, the Pioneers' seventh run.
After only giving up one hit in his previous three innings, Klein allowed a single base runner (HBP) in his final inning of work, retiring the side on a 4-6 fielder's choice.
The Pioneer offense cooled down in the final two frames, against reliever Sean Cunningham. Nick Lockwood reached base for the fourth time, on his third hit of the game (a double to right) but nothing more came from the LC offense.
Senior Blake Howell shut the door on the Missionaries in his two innings of work, retiring six of seven faced and securing the Pioneers' first win of the season.
Lewis & Clark returns to action tomorrow at Ron Tonkin Field, taking on the Willamette Bearcats at 11:00 a.m. and the Puget Sound Loggers at 2:00 p.m.