Whitworth baseball rallies for win over Lewis & Clark
SPOKANE, Wash. - Jake Hanley pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless relief and Nick Combo singled home the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to lead Whitworth back from an early 8-4 deficit to a 10-8 win over visiting Lewis & Clark in a Northwest Conference baseball game on Sunday at Merkel Field.
The Pirates improved to 6-13 overall and 3-3 in the NWC after taking two of three in the series. L&C fell to 5-11, 4-8.
Whitworth scored four runs in the bottom of the first with only one hit. But two L&C errors and two hit batters led to the rally that chased Pioneer starting pitcher Laurence Tucker.
L&C rallied for seven runs in the third, using eight hits to knock out Whitworth pitcher Nathan Johnson. Jim Bray had a three-run homer, while Laurence, Geoff Wertz and Michael Ball all had RBI hits in the rally.
Trailing 8-4, Whitworth began its comeback with a run in the fourth on JR Jarrell's RBI single. The Pirates added two more unearned runs in the fifth to pull within 8-7. Whitworth finally went ahead with three in the sixth on Dan Belet's hard shot that got away from the Pioneer second baseman and Combo's game-winning hit just over the infield.
Hanley relieved Johnson to get the final out of the third, then pitched 4.2 scoreless innings before leaving with one out in the eighth and two runners on base. Collin Gibbs got the final two outs of the eighth and Landon Scott moved from third base to pitch the ninth for his second save of the season. Hanley allowed four hits and two walks to improve to 1-1 this season.
Adam Rager gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits and five walks in five innings of relief for L&C. He took the loss and fell to 0-3 this season.
Bray's home run for L&C was his second of the year. Eliot Smith went 3-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Ball and Parker Dane both had a pair of hits for the Pioneers, who out-hit the Pirates 13-9.
Jarrell, Belet and Combo all drove in a pair of runs for Whitworth. Scott was the only Pirate with more than one hit, going 2-5. Kevin Valerio scored twice for the Bucs.
Whitworth will play at Lewis-Clark State on Tuesday in a non-conference contest before returning to NWC play with a three-game series at Linfield College next weekend.