Pios score late, start early to sweep NWC-opening doubleheader

Pios score late, start early to sweep NWC-opening doubleheader

Game 1 - Lewis & Clark 5, Puget Sound 3

TACOMA, Wash. -- Bradley Lezak singled to score one and Max Haddad scored on an error in the top of the ninth inning to help the Lewis & Clark Pioneers seal a 5-3 victory over the Puget Sound Loggers on Saturday afternoon at Logger Field.

Lezak finished the game 2 for 5 with the RBI after scoring a go-ahead run in the top of the third. Connor Eggleston's single down the leftfield line brought in Lezak after scoring Sean Shepherd in the inning before after he reached on a field error. Eggleston finished with a double and two RBI, while Shepherd also had a multi-hit game, which included a triple to lead off the second before scoring during Eggleston's at-bat.

The win helped the Pios move over .500 for the year, giving the program its best start since Tom Flynn became the head coach before the 2011 season. Lewis & Clark last started this well during the 2008 season when the Pioneers went 2-2 before losing three straight.

Starting pitcher Aaron Landecker left the game in the seventh inning after allowing eight hits, two runs, striking out three and allowing two walks. Blake Howell was credited with the win after pitching a scoreless eighth inning. Drake Gilliland (pictured right) earned his second save of the year, striking out two while allowing a run in the ninth.

Shepherd hit an RBI single to score Matt Donovan, who opened the inning with a single of his own, to supply Howell the lead, 3-2, entering the bottom half of the inning.

Chris Zerio and Ben Jones had two hits apiece, while Joshua Zavisbuin took the loss for Puget Sound.

Game 2 - Lewis & Clark 7, Puget Sound 6

Bradley Lezak and Ben Beck brought in three runs apiece as Lewis & Clark erupted to a 7-0 lead through 2 1/2 innings en route to a 7-6 victory over the Puget Sound Loggers.

Lewis & Clark weathered four runs by the Loggers in the fifth and sixth innings to close within one, as neither team allowed a score the rest of the game.

The win moves the Pios to 5-3 on the season, and 2-0 in the Northwest Conference. Puget Sound was selected fifth in the NWC preseason coaches poll after a 13-11 season in conference last year.

Freshman Nathan Klein pitched 4 1/3 innings, striking out five, allowing three walks, five hits and five runs, three of which were earned. Holden Jones replaced Klein after Klein gave up two walks against the first three batters of the fifth inning. Nick Funyak hit a single to center field to score two runs. Jones got an out on the next batter before striking out Jordan Hirae two batters later to leave three Puget Sound runners stranded, and maintain Lewis & Clark's 7-5 lead.

Jones pitched three innings overall, allowing a run in the bottom of the sixth. Along with Drake Gilliland, who came in with one out in the eighth inning, the Pios allowed one hit and had one error in the final three innings.

After starting the game with a groundout and pop up in the first and second innings, Lezak hit a three-RBI double down the rightfield line in the top of the third. The extra-base hit came after Beck hit a double of his own three batters earlier, scoring Sean Shepherd and Cooper Larson. Eggleston had reached on a dropped third strike. Had the Loggers gotten that out, the inning would have been over before Lezak's at-bat.

Lezak finished 1 for 5, while Beck went 2 for 5 after scoring the Pios' first run with a hit to shortstop and two runners on-base. Ryan Ericksen (pictured right) followed that hit with a single into right field, scoring Nick Lockwood, who had drawn a walk.

Larson and Shepherd also had multiple hits in the game, including a double for Shepherd, his fifth extra-base hit of the season.

Lewis & Clark will go for the sweep at noon on Sunday before playing four non-conference games in California Feb. 26-27.

Other Northwest Conference Scores - Saturday

George Fox 11, Pacific 3
Linfield 7, Pacific Lutheran 2
Willamette 4, Whitman 1
George Fox 9, Pacific 2
Pacific Lutheran 8, Linfield 3
Whitman 8, Willamette 6