Eggleston’s grand slam sets the tone for Lewis & Clark

Eggleston’s grand slam sets the tone for Lewis & Clark

Game 1 - Lewis & Clark 12, Whitman 6

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Last season, Lewis & Clark hit five home runs in 40 games. On Sunday, the Pioneers hit three in the first four innings on their way to a 12-6 victory over the Whitman Missionaries at the Huston Sports Complex.

Connor Eggleston, who had one of the Pios' five homers last season, sent a Steven Ainsworth pitch over the left field wall with the bases loaded for his first career grand slam.

"It was right down the middle. That was what I should have done with that one," said Eggleston, who finished 5 for 5 in the game with five runs batted in. "We came out ready to swing the bat and get some wins today. That's what we're looking to do, just hop on people."

"We got off to a great start. We hit the ball really hard," said head coach Tom Flynn. "Getting a grand slam in the first inning really helps. That will get you going."

The Pioneers used the momentum to score two runs in each of the next three innings, including the first collegiate home runs by Cooper Larson and Matt Donovan in the second and fourth, respectively. Larson went on to have a multi-hit game on 2 of 4 hitting with three RBI. Sophomore Sean Shepherd also hit 2 of 4 with a double. Tommy Massari had a double as well.

Six of Lewis & Clark's top seven hitters in the order had a hit in the game, as the Pios racked up 14 overall.

Freshman Austin Conniff (pictured right) won his first career game in relief of starter Nathan Klein. Conniff allowed two runs on three hits over 2 2/3 innings, while Klein threw 4 1/3 innings, striking out three of the 22 batters he faced. He allowed seven hits, four runs and four walks, finishing two outs shy of qualifying for his second career victory. Blake Howell threw the final two innings, striking out one without allowing a hit.

Adrian Vela led Whitman at the plate with a 3 of 5 performance that included three RBI. Ainsworth took the loss after allowing nine runs on seven hits in three innings. He struck out three and walked two.

Game 2 - Lewis & Clark 8, Whitman 5

Lewis & Clark scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Drake Gilliland closed by pitching two innings of scoreless ball, as the Pioneers swept the doubleheader with an 8-5 game two victory over Whitman on Sunday.

Anticipating showers for the entire set, the rain was far more intense in the first five or six innings of game two than it had been the entire opening game.

Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the fourth inning, Lewis & Clark sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring on two walks by Matt Donovan and Sean Shepherd, a hit by pitch against Cooper Larson and Connor Eggleston's single. The four-run inning gave the Pios a 6-3 lead that held until Whitman picked up runs in the fifth and sixth.

Lucas Thrun scored Anthony Lim when he grounded to second in the fifth, and Alex Behrman singled in a score in the sixth.

Similarly to the four-run fourth inning, Lewis & Clark benefited from Whitman's inability to throw strikes in the eighth. Nick Lockwood was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Donovan, before Ben Beck drew a walk to score Shepherd.

Aside from a double by Joseph Zimmer, Gilliland earned his first save of the season by getting three outs against four batters.

"It was a little sloppy, but I think that has a lot to do with the weather," said head coach Tom Flynn. "We found a way to win and they really competed hard."

"Like coach says, even though we play bad, we can still get a victory," said Eggleston. "That shows the direction of the program and what we want to do. In the past, we wouldn't have pulled that out."

Lewis & Clark used five relievers after Aaron Landecker left in the fifth inning. Facing 20 batters, Landecker struck out two, walked two and allowed four runs on five hits, falling an inning short of earning the victory. Robert Reaser (1-0) earned his first win with a strikeout in 2/3 of an inning, while Holden Jones got two outs, while allowing a hit and a run with a walk.

Blake Howell pitched another 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out and walking one batter.

Braden Hussey (0-1) took the loss for Whitman after coming into the game in the fourth inning with the score tied 3-3.

"It's a good start. We're young, but we're playing well, and I think we have an opportunity to be competitive this year," said Flynn. "We're trying to get ready for conference. Try to figure out who our players are. I was glad the second game was a good, close game, and Whitman played well, so we can compete, because we have a really good Puget Sound team next week."

The Pioneers open Northwest Conference play at Puget Sound starting Saturday with an 11 a.m. doubleheader. Lewis & Clark is away from Portland until Mar. 5 when it hosts its NWC home opener against Linfield.

Other Northwest Conference Scores - Sunday

La Verne 3, Pacific Lutheran 2
Linfield 17, Redlands 3
Whitworth 7, Concordia (Texas) 4
College of Idaho 4, Puget Sound 3
Willamette 10, Occidental 9 (10 inn.)
Mary Hardin-Baylor 10, Pacific 9