by Jackson Bell |Staff Writer
The Pirates continued their winning streak this weekend as they swept the Pomona-Pitzer Sage Hens in an impressive three game, non-conference series. The sweep brings Pirates record to 5-1 on the season.
Whitworth set the pace Friday, beating the Sage Hens 8-3 and were led offensively by juniors Joel Condreay and JT Phelan, who each had 2 RBI’s and hit .600 and .500, respectively.
The Bucs started off slow with three scoreless innings, while Pomona first baseman Cade Hulse batted two runners in off two deep doubles to left center. The Pirates battled back starting in the fourth and put the nail in the coffin with a big three run ninth inning to bring the lead to five runs.
Pitcher Hugh Smith threw seven innings with five strikeouts and a single home run versus Tanner Nishioka, who proved to be a dangerous foe for the Pirates’ bullpen. Closer Kelly Fitzpatrick shut down the Sage Hens’ bats in the eighth and ninth innings, earning his first save of the season.
In the first game on Sunday, the Bucs crushed the ball in a 10-6 victory over left-handed Nicholas Radich. While the Pirates’ average was only .235, five of eight hits went for extra bases, bringing their slugging percentage to an impressive .500.
Joel Condreay set the tone early with a double that drove in Daniel Casanova, shortly followed by a two-run homer by Liam Fitzpatrick, presenting an early three run lead. The Sage Hens were scoreless until the bottom of the third, when Nishioka sent another ball deep past the left field fence, scoring three. Answering immediately, Matthew Nelson rocketed a fastball left up by Radich over center fielder’s head for three runs. Nelson finished the game with four RBI’s and a 1.500 slugging percentage. Pomona strung together three more runs in the 6th on two throwing errors and two hits.
“It feels great being out there finally after a long winter and being cooped up in the Fieldhouse for 6 weeks,” Nelson said. “When we all stay within our approaches we are a special group.” This showed; with the first 5 in the pirates’ lineup all having a great game offensively, accounting for all but one run and having a combined batting average of .400.
From the mound, Ryan Kingma (2-0) was able to hold the Sage Hens to five hits through five innings, and walking only two.
Later Sunday the Bucs secured the series with a close 7-6 win which came down to three unearned runs in the top of the ninth. The Sage Hens started their final game against Whitworth quickly, scoring two off a homer by Nishioka. The Pirates offense was again led by Matthew Nelson with a fifth inning home run and designated hitter Ryan Bird going 3-5. Six Pirates with RBI’s in this game showed the versatility this Pirate lineup possesses.
While they were able to secure the win, the Pirates left a lot of scoring potential untapped, leaving 13 men on base. In the seventh inning, the Sage Hens stayed toe-to-toe with the Bucs thanks to another two-run homer by Nishioka, and a solo home run by Cade Hulse in the eighth.
Matthew Young held the Pomona lineup to only two runs in his six innings, an impressive feat for the freshman right-hander. This competitive outing brings his ERA to 3.86, and leaves his opponents’ batting average at a meager .176
Next up the Pirates will battle at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, in a three game weekend against the 4-4 Blues.
To follow Whitworth baseball on the road or to see their schedule go to www.whitworthpirates.com.