'Cats Take Four Over Weekend
Western Nevada College's baseball team found a new gear over the weekend, and it is a winning one. The Wildcats put the claws to Scenic West Athletic Conference leader Salt Lake Community College, which came into a four-game series in first place but left 0-4 on the weekend and dropped to second in conference standings.
The Bruins, ranked 12th in the latest NJCAA Division 1 poll, were riding a 15-game win streak and were 11-0 in conference play. The Wildcats, meanwhile, ranked 16th by the NJCAA, and third in the SWAC behind NJCAA No. 3 College of Southern Nevada, were hungry to prove themselves as better than their 6-6 SWAC start.
Friday, WNC gutted out a 3-1 opener followed by a 9-8 thriller in the first doubleheader at John L. Harvey Field. Ace pitcher Kramer Champlin dominated in the seven-inning opener, going the distance with 10 strikeouts.
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 a 9-4 lead in the sixth inning and held it until the final out of the game, when Salt Lake 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.
On Saturday, Salt Lake led 3-0 in the sixth inning when the Wildcats found the bats. Third baseman Kevin Taylor and second baseman Jonathan Sigado walked and catcher Pat McMeel hit pay dirt with a three-run homer. Two batters later, designated hitter Sean Dwyer added another home run and WNC took the lead 4-3.
Salt Lake centerfielder Kyle Bilbrey tied the game in the top of the seventh with an RBI single. But WNC turned the tables soon after as McMeel's RBI single won the game 5-4.
The Wildcats stayed in the groove in the final outing, jumping to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off three hits and a Salt Lake error. The Bruins answered with an unearned run in the second, but WNC stretched the lead with a two-run triple by third baseman Kevin Taylor in the bottom of the inning. The Wildcats put the finishing touch on the weekend with a home run by designated hitter Kyle Conwell for the 5-1 win.
On the mound Saturday, starter Jake Waardenburg allowed three runs on six hits over six innings in game one. In the finale, winning pitcher Jordan Lewis allowed only one run on two hits in 3.1 innings, while closer Tim Peterson held the Bruins scoreless with a single hit in the final 3.2 innings.
"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."
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.
|Photos (Click to Enlarge)|
|Brooks Klein throw to Jay Skilton||Kyle Conwell - Baseball's Fun!||Eric Maupin gets the out at first base.|
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