McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- In game one of the three game series, which also includes an additional non-conference game on Monday, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers lost 3-1 to the Linfield Wildcats.
Drake Gilliland started out on the mound for the Pios, pitching in his fifth game of the season. Lewis & Clark managed an out on a single for their first pitch of the game. Ben Andrews, third baseman for the Wildcats, was third up to bat for Linfield. Gilliland struck him out at his first at bat, a large feat considering Andrews currently leads the NWC in batting average.
First up in the second inning, catcher Cooper Larson hit a single, grabbing the first hit of the day against Linfield's lefty Cason Cunningham. He was left on base at the end of the inning. The Wildcats scored their first three runs in the bottom of the second, the first off of a wild pitch, and the second two off of an error.
In the top of the third, sophomore Austin Conniff came in to pitch for the Pioneers, pitching to two innings.
Conner Sick hit an RBI single to center field in the top of the sixth, advancing to second after an error by the center fielder. Nick Lockwood crossed the plate for the Pioneers, grabbing the first Pio score of the day. Lewis & Clark left two on base at the end of the inning.
"We were struggling to get to them," said Sick, refering to the pitches thrown by Linfield's pitcher Riley Newman, "the guy on the mound was really good today."
Nat Richmond came in for the Pioneers, pitching a great two innings and keeping the WIldcats from scoring again. He was relieved in the seventh by Connor Eggleston, who threw a scoreless inning.
Neither team scored for the remainder of the game, leaving the final score at 3-1.
"We have to get the bats going a little bit more," said Sick, "our pitchers were doing really well but we need to put some runs up to support them."
And that they did. In the second game, the Pios managed to get two hits in just the first inning.
The Pioneers left three on base in the first inning, unable to capitalize on a situation that left them in scoring position. Robert Reaser started out on the mound for Lewis & Clark, getting a strikeout before Linfield's Scott Hilbert homered to center field, leaving the score at 1-0 at the end of the first inning.
Scoreless through the top of the second, the Pios let another home run through at the bottom of the inning. Neither team scored again until the bottom of the fourth, when the Wildcats managed to have another man cross the plate.
The Pios caught some wind at the top of the fifth, managing to score three. An RBI single by Shephard and an RBI off a fielder's choice gave the Pios two. The third run came off of an RBI single to center field by first baseman Lockwood. Linfield responded in the bottom of the fifth with a run of their own, after an error in the infield.
With their most runs in an inning on the day, the Wildcats scored four in the bottom of the sixth.
Lewis & Clark had two in the top of the seventh, while Linfield fought to keep their lead by posting two in the bottom of the eighth.
Linfield, coming off a loss at Puget Sound two weeks ago, is now 11-7. The Pios sit at 4-14 on the season, and 3-6 in the Northwest Conference.