by Jackson Bell | Staff Writer
The Linfield Wildcats swept the Whitworth Baseball in conference play, dropping the Bucs’ conference record to 9-12, but the Pirates were able to hang onto the last, non-conference game of the weekend.
The Pirates suffered a heavy loss in the first game falling 14-4 to the Cats, but kept the second game close, losing only 3-2 after 11 innings.
During the first game on Sunday the Pirates gave up another 10 runs to the Wildcats, losing the last conference game 10-4.
The Bucs won the final, non-conference, game 9-3 to finish off a tough weekend.
The Wildcats dominated the first game on Saturday. The Bucs were unable to drive many runs in during the 14-4 loss, scoring only in the fifth on a solo home run from senior Jordan McGowan and in the ninth on a three-run home run from senior Ryan Bird.
Linfield took advantage of the slow Whitworth offense late in the game with two, five-run innings that put the game well out of reach of the demoralized Whitworth lineup.
Sophomore Ryan Kingma was credited with the first loss on Saturday, dragging his record to 3-3 after giving up six earned runs on seven hits.
The second game went into extra innings as the Pirates fought to stay in the conference standings. The tight game was led off by two Linfield runs in the second inning. The Pirates battled back with one run in the fourth and another in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Bird which scored the tying run. The game then fell into the 11th inning when Linfield’s Cameron Fox hit a walk-off home run to finish it.
Starting pitcher Matthew Young, ‘20, led the Whitworth defense, allowing only five hits and no walks through eight innings. Young’s record was unaffected though, as the reliever Kelly Fitzpatrick, ’17, came into the game to give up the solo, walk-off home run.
The powerful Linfield offense again controlled the game early on Sunday. The Bucs allowed 10 runs versus their own four in the third game, falling behind quickly in the first and second innings. The Pirates runs came from another solo home run from McGowan, a two-run home run from senior Matthew Nelson and a sacrifice out from senior Nate Lamberty.
The Pirate pitcher, Brady Simmelink, ’18, was not conducive to the Bucs’ struggle, giving up seven hits and seven runs in the one and two-thirds innings he was active. His performance led to his first loss of the season, bringing his record to 3-1. Sophomore Darren Crosby relieved in the second inning and finished the game for Simmelink, giving up only three runs.
The Pirates were able to hold onto the last game, securing their only victory of the series. The Bucs lineup was aggressive after three losses, scoring four in the first inning and capitalizing on three Linfield errors. The Bucs showed their speed, earning hits off a few infield grounders. Nelson continued the home run streak by the Pirate batters with a solo home run in the sixth and bringing the score to 7-3 before the Pirates scored two more in the seventh.
Pitching for the Pirates, TJ Orchard, ‘18, earned his first win of the year, giving up only two earned runs and striking out five Wildcat batters. Sophomore Matthew Pulliam came in the game in the seventh to relieve, and gave up only two hits and a walk through three innings.
Whitworth will take on Pacific University at home this weekend in a last chance struggle for a playoff position, Friday April 14 at noon.