Ability to Come Back Keys WNC's Series Win
Think 12. That has been the lucky number for the Western Nevada College baseball team of late.
The Wildcats won their third 12-inning decision in five games with a come-from-behind 4-3 triumph over Mount Hood Community College on Saturday at John L. Harvey Field.
WNC needed nine innings to earn the second- game victory, 9-3, and take three of four from Portland Community College. Luke Eubank carried a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning of the opener, but the Saints used a pair of two-out hits to forge a 1-1 tie. Eubank finished with nine strikeouts and a four-hitter in his eight innings of work.
“Luke has been asked to do a lot of things for us this year and been put in very demanding positions. He has shown the ability to make pitches under pressure,” WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said. “He is learning how to be a dominant college pitcher very quickly.”
The Saints scored twice in the 11th inning against the Wildcats
bullpen to go ahead 3-1. But for the third time in the series, the Wildcats found a way to avoid defeat in their final at-bat.
Tony Roque doubled to start the rally and scored on Christian Stolo’s double. Tyler Baker’s sacrifice bunt moved Stolo 90 feet away from tying the score. Matt Becker’s one-out RBI base hit retied the score at 3, extending play into the 12th inning.
In the 12th, Tyler Bennett came in with a runner on second and used a groundout and fly out to keep the Saints from leading again. In the bottom of the inning, Spenser Dorsey walked, and Brandon Show was inserted as a pinch-runner. Connor Harber doubled in Show to give the Wildcats the win.
“When you get in 12-inning games, every player on the roster is in play and Brandon was the next fastest guy, so his name was called,” Whittemore said.
Show has been shut down from pitching since early in the season due to elbow tightness. Whittemore said the team’s No. 1 pitcher to start the season could return to the mound this weekend against College of Southern Nevada.
“He put a lot of effort into being one of the best pitchers in the conference this year and has been working hard to stay in shape during his three weeks off from throwing,” Whittemore said.
WNC outhit Mt. Hood 13-6, with Harber, Becker, Connor Klein and Mike Umscheid providing multi-hit games. Bennett, the Wildcats’ fifth pitcher, earned the win to even his record at 1-1.
Umscheid’s 3-for-5 performance at the plate and Stolo’s four-hitter over six innings produced the only blowout in the series finale.
“Mike is the silent leader of the team … shows up every day and puts out a yeoman effort all day long,” Whittemore said. “Our team will feed off his grind-it-out approach to each at-bat and the season. Players with that kind of focus always end up getting the big hits down the stretch.”
WNC snapped a 2-2 tie by scoring six times in the fifth inning. Umscheid’s two-run double and Dorsey’s RBI triple highlighted the big inning, while Joseph Crunkilton and Cole Ferguson contributed RBI singles and Donald Glover Jr. delivered a run-scoring groundout. Harber tripled start the Wildcats’ two-run output in the first inning.
The Wildcats totaled 13 hits, with Umscheid scoring twice and knocking in two runs to go along with his three hits. Harber, the Wildcats’ new leadoff hitter, was 2 for 4 with three runs scored; and Crunkilton was 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Stolo raised his record to 4-2 by allowing just one earned run while fanning seven and walking one.
“Christian has been a great player to coach. His positive attitude and team-first approach are evident every day,” Whittemore said. “He has never stopped working or believing in himself, so to see him come through is awesome. He is a great competitor and an all-around great baseball player.”
Harber tossed two scoreless innings and struck out two and Brock Pellow finished up, fanning two in his one inning on the mound.
WNC, 21-11 overall, will resume Scenic West Athletic Conference play when it entertains conference leader Southern Nevada College, 19-6, on Friday and Saturday.
“CSN is the team to beat,” Whittemore said. “They were the team to beat at the beginning of the year. They had six or seven returning starters in the field and their No. 1 starter and No. 1 reliever returning. They have played great early and our representing our conference very well nationally.”
After winning seven of their past eight games, Whittemore and his Wildcats are looking forward to the challenge of facing the No. 4-ranked team in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll.
“We are going to use this weekend as a measuring stick to see where we stack up with the best team in the conference and hopefully prove to ourselves that we can play with them over a four-game series,” Whittemore said.
Doubleheaders begin at noon on both days.
SWAC Baseball Standings
Through Sunday, March 17
Team W L
College of Southern Nevada 11 1
Salt Lake CC 11 5
Western Nevada College 6 6
College of Southern Idaho 5 7
Colorado Northwestern CC 1 15
Press Release: March 20, 2013
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