Baseball sweeps Loggers in first home series

by Sasha Siclait

It was a busy week for the Whitworth baseball team as they faced Central Washington on Tuesday, March 5 and started the conference schedule with a sweep against the Puget Sound Loggers over the weekend.

The Bucs started off Tuesday scoring in the first inning with a run batted in by sophomore catcher Josh Davis. In the bottom of the third inning, Central generated offense, managing to get three hits and score two runs.

“They got up on us early [in the game] and we didn’t have any fight the rest of the game,” junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer said.

The Bucs continued to fall behind only scoring one run in the first inning and scoring their other run in the sixth inning. Central scored consistently in the second and third innings, and scored three more runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Central beat Whitworth 7-2 on Tuesday evening.

Saturday, the Pirates played a doubleheader against Puget Sound with the stands full of fans. Head coach Dan Ramsay commented on the the high energy generated from the Pirates over the weekend.

“I thought the energy was great for the home opener,” Ramsay said. “We had a great crowd and it wasn’t difficult for us to get excited about opening conference play and defending our 2012 conference championship.”

The Bucs were able to play a game on the newly-renovated turf field this weekend for the first time this season.

“We were all excited to come out and play our first game on the new field,” freshman third baseman Jeremy Druffel said. “We showed our energy and got two wins, which was good.”

The Pirates first game on Saturday against the Loggers started off slow for both teams. There was only one hit total for the game until the top of the third inning when Puget Sound had three hits and one run. Although Puget Sound began to pick up the offensive pace, Whitworth stuck right with them throughout the game.

Although Whitworth had two errors in the sixth inning, they managed to score their third run in the bottom of the sixth after an RBI by sophomore right fielder Thomas Wakem.

Whitworth finished off the first game Saturday with a 4-2 win against Puget Sound.

In the second game on Saturday the Pirates and Loggers were locked in a close contest until the sixth inning. Whitworth ended up scoring four runs en route to a 12-3 victory and a sweep for Saturday.

“We knew that UPS had a number of arms that would attack us with their sliders.” Ramsay said. “ One of our assistant coaches [Jon Whiteside] throws a natural slider, so we worked on staying inside the ball and hitting the mistake slider hard the other way.”

In the bottom of the seventh inning the Bucs scored four runs, and added seven more runs in the bottom of the eighth.

“We prepared for the pitchers that we were going to face,” sophomore pitcher Carson Blumenthal said. “We’ve seen him before, and that guy [Logger pitcher] is a senior so we know his tendencies.”

Blumenthal also had a great game Saturday, throwing a complete game for the Pirates.

“The second game was faster paced because Carson Blumenthal was very efficient on the mound,” Ramsay said. “He threw just over 100 pitches in a complete game effort which is pretty rare.”

Druffel helped lead the Pirates offensively, tallying four RBIs including a home run well over the fence in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The game stretched on for 16 innings and the crowd attendance was significantly less, but the Bucs weren’t phased.

“I thought our energy was fantastic throughout the weekend,” Ramsay said. “Especially because of the length of the third game.  I was very happy with our energy this weekend.”

The Loggers started off the game scoring a run in the top of the first inning, and the Bucs responded with two runs in the bottom of the first.

Freshman infielder Nathan Jewett hit a single to left center for an RBI and put the Bucs in the lead for a short time in the bottom of the third, but the Loggers came back with three runs in the top of the fifth.

Sophomore Nick Scourey pitched six innings for the Bucs, and junior Taylor Isadore took over for Scourey in the seventh inning. Both pitchers had five strikeouts on Sunday and sophomore pitcher Spencer Ansett came in finishing the last three innings for the Bucs with one strikeout.

In the bottom of the eighth inning sophomore catcher Josh Davis added an RBI after he singled to left field, and tied up the game for the Pirates.

“Statistically we actually hit better on Sunday, I think we failed to execute numerous times with runners in scoring position which allowed the game to last as long as it did,” Ramsay said.

The Pirates put a stop to the long-lasting game when Pfeffer hit an RBI single to left field, and junior first baseman Justin Liu scored in the 16th inning to give the Pirates a 6-5 win.

Whitworth will be playing again on March 16 and 17 in Tacoma, Wash. as they take on the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, and Central again on March 19.

“As the weekend went on, our energy improved and was consistent throughout each game, which helped our overall morale for all three games and played a huge role in our sweep over Puget Sound,” Davis said. “We just need to carry our energy through to our next series at PLU.”

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

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