By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Student Assistant
TACOMA, WASH. -- After battling a back-and-forth game Sunday afternoon, the Puget Sound Loggers broke a late tie thanks to Nathan Backes' three-run home run handing the Lewis & Clark Pioneers their first league loss of the season at Logger Field.
When the Pioneers took the field in the home half half of the eighth, the score was tied at four, and Robert Reaser hoped to replicate his previous shutdown inning. After allowing a leadoff single, Reaser was lifted and the bullpen then allowed a subsequent single. The Pios eventually faced runners at the corners with one out. Holden Jones entered the game in relief looking to turn a double play, but unfortunately gave up a three-run homer to Backes, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Lewis & Clark opened the game with a run in the first, courtesy of third baseman, Connor Eggleston. A single, error and a walk allowed the Pios to load the bases with one out, before Eggleston's sac fly to center plated Matthew Donovan.
Puget Sound answered in the third, taking their first lead of the game thanks to Cal Muramaru. The leadoff man's RBI double to left-center tied the game, and after stealing third, Muramaru raced home on a wild pitch to take the lead, 2-1.
The Pios retook the lead with a flurry of runs in the fourth. Ben Beck laid down a sac bunt to move two runners into scoring position, setting the table for Bradley Lezak. Lezak knocked a base hit through the right side, scoring Tommy Massari and tying the game at two, before Donovan cracked an RBI single to left, driving in Nick Lockwood. Lezak then scored on an RBI fielder's choice, and the Pioneers completed the inning, having taken a 4-2 lead on the Loggers.
The game was tied for a final time in the bottom of the fifth, with Puget Sound scoring a pair of two-out runs against the Pios. James Dejesus found his way aboard with a two-out single, stole second and eventually advanced to third on a bunt single by Muramaru. The Loggers' left fielder took off during the next at bat and a throwing error by catcher, Cooper Larson, not only allowed Muramaru to safely steal second, but scored Dejesus from third. Layne Croney erased the Lewis & Clark lead with an RBI single to right.
After the Loggers retook the lead 4-7, Lewis & Clark found themselves unable to battle back in the top of the ninth, going down quietly on three consecutive groundouts.
The Pioneers offense featured two three-hit performances from Lezak and Donovan, and collected 10 hits overall, but suffered from their tendency to leave runners on the basepaths. Lewis & Clark loaded the bases both in the second and eighth innings, but were unable to drive in a run in either of the frames.
After earning their first league series-win of the season against Puget Sound, the Pioneers travel to California for four non-conference match-ups in Whittier next weekend.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Sunday
George Fox 8, Pacific 6
Pacific Lutheran 5, Linfield 2
Whitman 7, Willamette 6 (12 inn.)
Willamette 6, Whitman 3