April 30, 2011

Play No. 5 Salt Lake This Weekend

WNC Earns Third SWAC Baseball Championship

Outfielders Ready for the Catch
Outfielders Ready for the Catch

When the Western Nevada College Wildcats baseball team left John L. Harvey Field late Saturday afternoon following a four-game sweep of College of Southern Idaho, they were looking ahead to this week's series against Salt Lake Community College, which was to determine the 2011 Scenic West Athletic Conference champion.

Little did the Wildcats know that they had already clinched their third regular-season title in the team's six-year history. The Bruins split in their Saturday doubleheader on the road against College of Eastern Utah, assuring Western Nevada the title.

"I am so happy for our players and coaches who have worked so hard for so long to accomplish our first goal of the season, which was to win the Scenic West Conference championship and earn the right to host the Region XVIII tournament," said Wildcats Head Coach DJ Whittemore. "To clinch the championship a week before the regular season ends is even more remarkable given the quality and depth of the teams in our conference."

CSI and College of Southern Nevada have both spent time in the NJCAA Top 20 polls this season, and Salt Lake was ranked No. 1 for much of the season. The No. 10 ranked Wildcats took all four games from the Golden Eagles, 8-6, 6-2, 12-2 and 3-2. WNC also maintained its perfect home record, now 16-0 for the season.

On Friday, the Wildcats opened the series with an 8-6 victory in seven innings, scoring eight runs on nine hits in an error-free contest. CSI scored six runs on seven hits with two errors. Anthony Consiglio (6-1) was the winning pitcher, and closer Chris Garrison got the save.

In the nine-inning nightcap, the Wildcats won 6-2 on nine hits with no errors. Winning pitcher was Kody Gordon (5-1): Brandon Jackson got his second save of the year.

On Saturday, the Wildcats allowed two Golden Eagle runs before blasting nine runs on six hits and two CSI errors in the fourth inning. WNC was led by a 2RBI double from shortstop Tanner Nielsen, and hits by Brooks Klein, Zach Hendrix, Chris Wooley, Taylor Smart, and Beau Day.

The Wildcats ended the game after six innings on the 12-run rule, following three scores on a 2RBI single by catcher Pat McMeel and an RBI single by Hendrix.

CSI used four pitchers to try and contain the Wildcats, with starting pitcher Travis Huber taking the loss. Winning pitcher Andrew Woeck improved to 7-2 on the season.

"Our players' ability to consistently perform at a high level has never before been matched in our program," Whittemore said afterward.

Western Nevada fans can only hope the Wildcats can sustain the momentum that has allowed them to sweep four-game series in eight of the past nine weekends. This week's series against Salt Lake Community College will be formidable, Coach Whittemore said.

"SLCC is ahead of us in the national polls and for good reason," he said. "Not only did they beat us three out of four at their park but they handled us easily in two of the contests. This is the fastest college baseball team I have ever coached against and they have lots of power as well. They are a very complete and well-balanced team and we have a tremendous amount of respect for their club.

"We understand that this is going to be the stiffest test we have faced all season and we are looking forward to the challenge."

The WNC-Salt Lake series will begin will begin Friday at noon at John L. Harvey Field. The Wildcats will then host the Region 18 baseball tournament Wednesday-Saturday, May 18-21.

Press Release: May 2, 2011

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Brooks Klein at bat    
Brooks Klein at bat    
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