LEWISTON, Idaho – The top-ranked Lewis-Clark State College baseball team avenged last season's loss to Central Washington University with a 6-4 win at Harris Field on Wednesday afternoon.
The win gives LCSC 158 over the Wildcats, with the first coming in 1969. Lewis-Clark State is 9-1 in their last 10 games against the NCAA Division II foes and have now faced the Wildcats more than any other team in program history, one better than NAIA West opponent, College of Idaho, whom LC plays eight times in 2016.
With both coaches declaring a bullpen game from the outset, the Wildcats tied for the second most pitchers used by an opponent with eight while the Warriors used five arms. Connor Brogdon (JR/Madera Ranchos, Calif.) (1-0) got the start and the win for LCSC with Mackenzie Gual (0-1) taking the loss and Daulton Blackwell (JR/Fruitland, Idaho) earning his first save.
The Warriors got off to a fast start scoring a pair of runs in the first inning as Cabe Reiten (SR/Spanaway, Wash.) led off the game with a single on the second pitch and reached third two batters later as Julian Ramon (SR/Oxnard, Calif.) reached on an error. With two out, Hayden Meier (JR/Sammamish, Wash.) drove in his first runs as a Warrior with a two run double to left center.
After allowing a hit to his third batter, Brogdon sat down the next seven Wildcats before being replaced in the fourth by Peter Irvin (SR/Redmond, Wash.) who didn't miss a beat, sitting down CWU in order. The offense got to work in the bottom of the inning, with the help of the defense.
Gunnar Buhner (JR/Issaquah, Wash.) took the first pitch he saw in the fourth over the centerfield wall for a solo home run, his first of the season. Again LC did damage with two outs as Micah Brown (SO/Medord, Ore.) and Reiten each reached on an error, the former scoring on the latter, and Chase Hafer (SR/Meridian, Idaho) walked to put runners at the corners. Ramon delivered with a single through the left side, scoring Reiten, the game-winning run.
Irvin ran into some trouble in the fifth as Jake Levin doubled to center to drive in Randy Fuller, who led off with a walk. An error and a single loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly cut the lead to 5-2. A pair of strikeouts got the lefty out of the inning.
Warrior pitching was tagged for two more runs in the eighth as Bryce Jackson (SR/Kennewick, Wash.) issued a bases loaded walk and his relief, Blackwell, induced a double play which plated another.
LCSC responded by loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning and DePaul Blunt (SO/Clarkston, Wash.) came through with an RBI single to centerfield. A miscue on the bases led to the second out and cost the Warriors a shot at more.
Blackwell shut the door in the ninth, erasing a leadoff single with another double play and striking out a pinch hitter to end the game.
Brogdon finished with one hit and three strikeouts in three innings while three other pitchers pitched at least two innings including Blackwell who allowed just one hit with a walk and two strikeouts.
Tyler McDowell (SO/Puyallup, Wash.) was the lone Warrior with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4 while Meier finished 1-for-3 with two RBI and Reiten finished 1-for 3 with a pair of runs scored. J.J. Robinson (JR/Colfax, Wash.) went 1-for-2 and is the only Warrior to hit safely in all four games this season.
The Warriors will put their 4-0 record on the line on Friday, Feb. 12 when they welcome Concordia (Ore.) to Harris Field for the first of a three-game weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.