Pitching leads Pioneers to doubleheader split

Pitching leads Pioneers to doubleheader split

WHITTIER, Calif. -- The Pioneers' offense remained positively consistent in each of their games, but polar opposite pitching performances led Lewis & Clark to a split of their Friday doubleheader, winning game one, 8-2, and falling 15-5 in the night cap.

Game 1 - Lewis & Clark 8, Bates 2

Lewis & Clark's constant hitting, along with a strong pitching performance by starter Nathan Klein, allowed the Pioneers to skate to an 8-2 victory Friday morning against the Bates Bearcats at Whittier College.

The freshman starter pitched six complete in his fourth start of the season, giving up only two runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out four along the way. Klein's performance netted him the win, pushing his record to 3-0 to start the year. The Pioneers have backed the right-hander with no less than seven runs of support in each of his starts, today's contest included.

The Pioneer lineup experienced extensive success against Bearcat pitching, as every starter reached base safely. Each L&C RBI was collected by a different batter, but shortstop Tommy Massari frequently contributed to the scoring opportunities.

Already up 1-0, thanks to Sean Shepherd's first-inning RBI single, Massari knocked a base hit up the middle to give Lewis & Clark their first baserunner of the second. A walk by Akira Abderrahman placed runners at first and second with one out as Ben Beck stepped to the plate. Beck promptly doubled to center, sending Massari home and doubling the Pioneer lead. Bradley Lezak was unable to muster a base hit, but his RBI ground out did the job, driving in Abderrahman from third and pushing the score to 3-0.

After retiring the first three Bearcats easily, Klein was challenged in the second by the Bates lineup. Brendan Fox, knocked a one-out double down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Conor Reenstierna narrowed the gap for the Bearcats with an RBI single to right, but was caught off the bag at first and retired. Klein limited damage to the single run and two innings later the Pios tacked three more of their own to the board.

Massari lead off the fourth with a hit-by-pitch and stole second before watching his teammates work back-to-back walks to load the bases. Two batters later, Matt Donovan lifted a sac fly to right, plating Massari. Another walk by the Pioneers re-loaded the bases, this time for Sean Shepherd. The L&C right fielder reached base safely on a defensive gaffe by shortstop, Brendan Fox. The error allowed Abderrahman and Beck to score from second and third, tallying Pioneer runs five and six.

Klein worked a scoreless third and fourth before giving up a run in the fifth. Jamie Kennedy lead off the inning with a single up the middle, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. A simple groundout to short by Ryan McCarthy allowed Kennedy score from third, to make the score 6-2.

The Pioneers added a couple more runs in the seventh to push the game of the Bearcats. With Connor Eggleston standing on first, Nick Lockwood laced an RBI triple down the right-field line. Lockwood was then driven in by Massari on a sac fly to left, pushing the Pio lead to 8-2.

Blake Howell took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, and pitched three spectacular innings for the Pioneers. Howell retired all nine batters he faced on 41 pitches, securing the 8-2 victory as well as his third save of the season.

Game 2 - Whittier 15, Lewis & Clark 5

After converting a solid start to a win earlier in the day, the Pioneers were unable to provide any quality pitching against Whittier College, and subsequently fell to the Poets by a final of 15-5 at Memorial Field.

Aaron Landecker, coming off of his best start of the season (7 IP, 2 ER, 3 K) six days prior, regressed in his matchup against the Poets, giving up seven runs (five earned) in two innings of work.

Whittier jumped on the board in the bottom of the first, capitalizing on an error by Landecker. The L&C starter's error on an attempted bunt by Tanner Marcoe, allowed the batter to reach base safely and advance to second, while the runner on first raced all the way home to score the first run of the game. Two batters later, an RBI single by Jake Raynaud drove in Marcoe, giving the poets an early 2-0 lead.

The following inning, the Pioneers recovered one of the runs allowed, via RBI ground-rule double. With runners at the corners, Akira Abderrahman ripped a ball to the outfield which bounced over the fence. Sean Shepherd came in to score, but Nick Lockwood was forced to hold up at third. However, the Pios were unable to capitalize on the runners at second and third, leaving them stranded at inning's end.

The Pioneers soon found themselves back in trouble during the bottom of the second and unfortunately, were unable to escape a two-out bases-loaded situation unscathed. Max Morohashi remained patient and took ball four, forcing in the third Poet run with his walk. Raynaud then broke the game wide open with a bases-clearing double to left center. One error later, Lewis & Clark found themselves down by a score of 7-1.

Once again, the Pioneers recuperated a run the following half inning, but like before, Whittier retaliated harder.

Austin Conniff was called on from the bullpen to take over on the mound and retired two of his first three batters faced. However, Marcoe ripped an RBI double down the left field line, scoring the eighth Whittier run of the game. An error by Connor Eggleston allowed another run to score and extended the inning. By the time the side was retired, the Poets lead the Pioneers 10-1.

Whittier's success at the plate did not translate to their pitching mound in the fourth. Lewis & Clark managed three runs in the frame thanks to Ben Beck and Cooper Larson. Tommy Massari and Abderrahman lead off the inning with back-to-back knocks, to set the table for Beck. The Pioneer center-fielder singled through the left side, driving home Massari for his team's third run. Cooper Larson later doubled to left-center, driving in both runners and reducing the Pios' deficit to seven.

That would be as close as the Pioneers would come.

The bottom of the fifth featured three hits, three hit batsmen, one walk and a wild pitch, that culminated in four Poet runs and pushed the game completely out of reach.

Andrew Fierro added an RBI double in the sixth, expanding the lead to ten runs. 15-5 would stand as the final score, netting Whittier their first win of the season.

The Pioneers rematch with Bates College at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday as they look to sweep their two game series against the Bearcats.