by Jackson Bell | Staff Writer
Pirate baseball won one of three games this weekend at the Northwest Conference Tournament, snatching their win from the top-seeded Linfield Wildcats. The Pirates hung onto the 4-3 victory after battling for 11 innings, but then dropped their next two games to Willamette and Linfield 13-8 and 8-3, respectively.
The first game of the weekend was a defensive battle by both teams, with 17 total strikeouts. Linfield out-hit the Pirates 9-4, but were unable to earn runs in key moments. The Pirates’ four hits came from seniors Garrett Hughes and JT Phelan, with two each.
The game went scoreless until the fifth inning when Nicolas Nerud, ’19, hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Joel Condreay, ’17, for the sole run of the inning.
Linfield then came back with two of their own in the sixth, but the lead was shortly taken back by Whitworth in the eighth on a sacrifice groundout by sophomore Tyler Bailey and a single from Phelan that scored senior Matthew Nelson. The Pirates saving grace came from Linfield starting pitcher, Cason Cunningham, who allowed five walks, two of which came in to score.
In the bottom of the ninth, Linfield’s Brady Rediger drove in the tying run to send the game to extra innings.
Then, in the top of the 11th, Phelan hit a solo home run that gave the Pirates the lead again and the Bucs came away with a 4-3 victory.
Game two versus the Willamette Bearcats was a high-scoring game, with runs scored in six of the nine innings.
Whitworth struck first, scoring one run on a single from Bailey that drove in Nerud. Willamette was quick to answer back, batting in one of their own in the bottom of the first inning. The game remained close, with the score 8-6, Willamette leading, going into the fifth, when Willamette’s Eric Del Prado hit a grand slam and an RBI from Perry Van Eckhardt brought the score to 13-6.
The Pirates would score two more runs but not enough to come back from the seven-run deficit.
Darren Crosby, ’19, started the game but only threw for two and two thirds innings before Brady Simmelink, ’18, would come in to be credited with the loss.
In the final game of the weekend for the Pirates, they faced off against Linfield for the second time.
The Pirates scored first in the second inning, on a solo home run from Bailey, and then again on another solo home run from Ryan Bird, ’17, in the fourth.
Linfield then tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a solo home run from Ben Andrews and an RBI single from Alex Hedra-Brown.
The Bucs’ final run came in the sixth on an RBI single from senior Jordan McGowan that drove in Nelson.
Going into the seventh, the game was tied at three, when Linfield scored two and another three in the eighth, putting the win out of reach for the Pirates.
Sophomore Ryan Kingma started the game and threw for five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs before junior TJ Orchard came in to relieve. Orchard would give up another four runs and would credited with the loss before junior Taylor Hillmick threw the final two outs.
The Pirates next matchup is a non-conference series against Puget Sound in Tacoma on Saturday, April 29. Whitworth is 2-2 against the Loggers this season.