by Jackson Bell | Staff Writer
The Whitworth Pirates dropped their first two conference games against the 6-4 Whitman Blues this weekend, bringing the Bucs’ record to 6-3 overall.
Whitworth, who hit an impressive .364 in the first of two games Saturday, was unable to grasp the victory after battling into the 11th inning and fell 6-5 to the Blues.
The Pirates offense was shut down in the second game, resulting in a tough 2-0 loss and a complete game no-hitter for freshman Eric Ma.
In the first game, the Whitworth lineup was ready to go, with seven different players earning a hit. Leading the Pirates were senior Daniel Casanova, junior JT Phelan, and freshman Liam Fitzpatrick, each with 3 hits and three of the team’s five RBI’s. Unfortunately, the Pirate’s offense was again limited by their ability to get quality at-bats when runners were in scoring positions, leaving 13 runners on base.
“I think it all starts with our approaches at the plate. A big part of baseball is being patient and not trying to do too much. We just need to focus on taking more competitive swings and quality at-bats, especially in scoring situations, “Casanova said.
Whitman took the early 2-0 lead in the third thanks to a two RBI single by junior Anthony Lim. In the fifth, Whitworth took the lead when senior Jordan McGowan drove in Casanova, followed by a sacrifice fly by Fitzpatrick that scored junior Joel Condreay.
The Pirates tied up the game at five in the ninth and narrowly avoided a walk-off bottom of the inning. In the 11th inning freshman Brett Williams led off with a walk. Williams moved to second on a sacrifice. Junior Joseph Zimmer then singled to center, where Casanova let the ball get away and allowed Williams to score the winning run.
From the mound, lefty sophomore Ryan Kingma held the Blues to only two hits through six innings, giving up only one earned run. Senior Kelly Fitzpatrick took the loss after throwing two innings of relief, moving to an 0-1 record.
The second game was dominated by Ma, striking out 12 Pirates and giving up only four walks, improving his record to 3-0.
“He did a great job keeping hitters guessing and making competitive pitches. Even when our hitters went up in counts, he did a great job of coming back with tough pitches to hit”, said Casanova.
Ma’s no-hitter is the first in NWC play this spring.