May 6, 2011

WNC Beats Salt Lake 1-0 and 3-2 Friday

Beau Day at bat
Beau Day at bat

The Western Nevada College baseball team outpitched Salt Lake Community College to win Friday's opening doubleheader in its final weekend of regular season play, 1-0 and 3-2. The tenth-ranked Wildcats used six pitchers to outlast No. 5 Salt Lake at John L. Harvey Field in Carson City. Saturday's doubleheader begins at noon.

Both teams played strategically, and perhaps with an eye toward next week's NJCAA Region 18 tournament that WNC will host. The Wildcats have already won the Scenic West Athletic Conference title, but must win the six-team, double elimination tournament to advance to the next level. This weekend's contest won't change the tournament seeding (WNC is seeded first and SLCC is second), but it gives both teams time to prepare and strategize.

The Bruins outhit the Wildcats in both contests, 5-3 and 8-4. "The difference was some timely hits, and we stranded some runners" with solid fielding, said WNC Coach DJ Whittemore.

Both teams used multiple pitchers on the day. In the seven-inning opener, WNC's Chris Garrison started on the mound, Anthony Consiglio earned the win, and Andrew Woeck got the save. In the nightcap, starting pitcher Kody Gordon went 4 1/3 innings, then gave way to Tyler Spencer, who got the win for 3 2/3 innings of work, while Brandon Jackson finished with the save.

Game one was scoreless in the sixth inning when Salt Lake loaded the bases with two outs. But Wildcats second baseman Taylor Smart fielded a grounder by Dominique Taylor to end the inning. WNC scored in the bottom of the inning when left-fielder Beau Day walked, Zach Hendrix singled to right field, advancing Day to third base, and he beat the throw home on a squeeze bunt by Sean Potkay for the 1-0 lead.

In the nine-inning nightcap, Gordon struck out Salt Lake's second baseman, Kyle Bilbrey, to open the contest, but catcher Mitch Manning promptly smacked a solo home run over the centerfield scoreboard to give Salt Lake a 1-0 lead after one inning.

The Wildcats answered in the second inning with a two-run homer by Brooks Klein over the leftfield wall to lead 2-1. Salt Lake fought back to a 2-2 tie in the third inning, and WNC answered again, scoring Day on a single by Potkay and a sacrifice fly by Klein to lead 3-2.

In the fifth inning, third baseman Chris Wooley made a spectacular diving catch in right field and threw to first base to hold off the Bruins. Salt Lake scored another run in the top of the eighth inning with a two-out double by Dominique Taylor into deep right field. Closer Jackson entered the game, loading the bases before ending the inning with a strikeout.

The Wildcats defense held in the ninth with a full count strikeout to capture the win.

WNC has now won 18 straight contests and stands at 35-3 in the SWAC and 42-11 overall. Salt Lake is on a three game skid but holds a 28-10 SWAC and 43-11 overall record.

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Chris Garrison on the mound Jonathan Sigado beating the throw Taylor Smart catching
Chris Garrison on the moundJonathan Sigado beating the throwTaylor Smart catching
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