WNC knew going into this weekend's series against Salt Lake Community College that it would not be easy to knock off the Scenic West Athletic Conference leaders. The Bruins were riding a 15-game win streak and were 11-0 in conference play.
But the Wildcats were hungry to prove themselves after a 6-6 SWAC start, and gutted out a 3-1 opener followed by a 9-8 thriller Friday in the first doubleheader of a four-game series at John L. Harvey Field.
WNC ace pitcher Kramer Champlin dominated in the seven-inning opener, going the distance with 10 strikeouts and allowing only seven hits. Game two saw the Wildcats use great base running and take advantage of 12 walks by the Bruins pitchers to score nine runs on seven hits. The Wildcats built up a 9-4 lead in the sixth inning and held it until the final out of the game, when Salt Lake changed everything.
WNC relief pitcher Jeff Barto threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings before walking three to load the bases in the top of the ninth. Bruins catcher Bo Fisher then delivered a Grand Slam that made it 9-8. But the Wildcats didn't panic, and sophomore pitcher David Carroll stepped calmly to the mound to strike out the final batter.
"Everybody did their jobs," said Jeremy Gendlek, the winning pitcher in game two who held Salt Lake to four runs on two hits in five innings. "We were looking for a sweep, and we were really focused."
Champlin agreed: "After the last two losses, we wanted to make a strong statement to get the season back on track."
Wildcats catcher Chris Sinclair said he and Champlin, who is also his roommate off the field, work well together on the field. "Hats off to Kramer," he said, "I've got his back, and we're on the same page."
WNC Head Coach DJ Whittemore said he was pleased with his team's effort against a Salt Lake pitching corps that has been stellar to start the season. Of Champlin, he said, "Kramer did what aces do" to win. Barto, he said, "played great - he did a lot of the dirty work" in the late innings of the second game.
For the afternoon, WNC tallied 15 hits, including RBI doubles by Brooks Klein and Kevin Taylor, and RBI singles by Jay Skilton, Jonathan Sigado, Paul Cable and Klein.
The series continues Saturday at noon.
|Photos (Click to Enlarge)|
|Kramer Champlin on the mound||Trevor Goff Safe at the Plate||Kramer Champlin & Eric Maupin|
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