After scoring 21 runs in their previous game, the Western Nevada College Wildcats ran into a pitcher on Friday that kept them off-balance.
Salt Lake Community College freshman right-hander Jason Jourdan checked the 14th-ranked Wildcats on two hits through seven innings en route to the Bruinsâ€™ 4-3 baseball victory in Henderson.
â€œHe beat us; he threw a phenomenal game,â€ said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore of Jourdan, who fanned four and didnâ€™t walk a hitter. â€œHe had good movement on his fastball and threw enough off-speed pitches.â€
The nonconference game was the first of four for the Wildcats against Scenic West Athletic Conference opponents in Henderson. The Wildcats (8-5), who had won eight of their previous 10 games, are scheduled to play College of Southern Idaho at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by Colorado Northwestern at 6 p.m.
Jourdan blanked WNC through seven innings, but the Wildcats rallied in the eighth inning to send him off the hill. Trailing 4-0, Sam Hall started the rally with a walk, and one out later, Jake Bennett also received a free pass from Jourdan, ending his afternoon. Alex Fife greeted left-handed reliever Nick Denny with a base hit to load the bases. Then, Joey Crunkilton got the Wildcats on the scoreboard with a RBI walk, and Connor Harber made the score 4-2 with a single. Connor Klein took a walk with the bases full to pull the Wildcats within a run, but the Bruins got out of the jam when Eric Carter, the fourth pitcher of the inning, got Tony Roque out on a fly ball to right.
After Spencer Greer kept the deficit at one in the bottom of the eighth, the Wildcats made some final-inning noise when Rayne Raven singled to center field with one out. However, Carter retired Bennett on a fly out to center, and Rayne Raven was called out trying to steal second base to end the game.
â€œWe came out with the same approach at the plate,â€ Whittemore said. â€œWeâ€™ve played with that same approach all year. There is only way to do it, and that is to play as hard as they can every pitch.â€
Harber and Fife each stroked a pair of hits for the Wildcats.
WNC starting pitcher Christian Solo departed after two innings because of elbow tightness. Greer filled the void, throwing six innings of two-run relief.
â€œGreer was awesome,â€ Whittemore said.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore right-hander struck out eight and allowed just three hits.
Salt Lake (7-6) went on top with a two-run first inning. Caleb Summerhays connected for a run-scoring double and Colton Barkdull scored on a wild pitch.
The Bruins expanded their lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning when Summerhays and Derrick Whitney hit RBI singles.
The two teams will meet in a four-game SWAC series Feb. 28 and March 1 at John L. Harvey Field in Carson City.