The Western Nevada College Wildcats had a productive start to the 2010 baseball season, splitting a four-game series against South Mountain College of Phoenix at a tournament played in Las Vegas.
Both teams enjoyed preseason rankings, and each played solid baseball throughout the weekend. WNC was ranked fifth by Baseball America, ninth by the National Junior College Athletic Association, tenth by Collegiate Baseball, and No. 12 by Perfect Game. South Mountain was ranked No. 23 by the NJCAA.
Western Nevada opened with a 4-2 win off the pitching of sophomore Kramer Champlin and the bats of sophomores Spencer Ofelt and Trevor Goff. Champlin pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up only six hits and one run. Ofelt hit 2-4 with an RBI and Goff went 1-3 with a walk and two runs. Another ace Wildcats pitcher, sophomore David Carroll, came in with two outs in the top of the ninth and gave the Wildcats their first victory of the season.
WNC put together a strong offensive performance in game two for a 10-2 victory, scoring ten runs off 12 hits. Douglas High graduate Tyler May went 2-4 with a walk, three RBIs and two runs. Winning pitcher Jake Waardenburg highlighted the game, throwing seven scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and striking out six Cougars. Closer Dyllon Nuernberg pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the Wildcats their second win.
In its third outing, WNC fell 3-1 despite generating six hits. Leftfielder Kyle Conwell went 2-4 with a double and a single, and centerfielder Goff was 1-2. For the Cougars, Ryan Christenson pitched five scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and striking out nine Wildcats.
South Mountain evened the series with a 5-1 win behind starting pitcher Joseph Lopez, who allowed only two hits and no runs in five innings. Western tallied five hits led by first baseman Eric Maupin, who was 2-3. Jeremy Gendlek pitched five good innings for the Wildcats, striking out six Cougars and allowing two runs on four hits.
Head coach DJ Whittemore was pleased overall with the start.
"I was very happy with the way our guys competed all weekend. I thought the team defense was excellent. Spencer Ofelt provided a huge spark defensively with his excellent play, communication, and leadership."
Whittemore said his team has plenty of room for improvement offensively. "But given the fact that we were facing one of the best pitching staffs in the country, we did well to win two games," he said. "We will continue to work hard and prepare."
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