Seeing their chances of winning the Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball title diminishing with a first-game defeat to Salt Lake on Friday, the Western Nevada College Wildcats pulled off a crucial 5-3 victory to stay in contention.
Joey Crunkilton drove in four runs and Spencer Greer tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief as the Wildcats handed the Bruins their first home loss and earned a doubleheader split with the SWAC leaders in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake won the opening game of the four-game series that launched the second half of the SWAC season, 4-3, on Derrick Whitney’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
WNC (11-7) trails Salt Lake (14-4) by three games.
Crunkilton drilled a single to score Tony Roque with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of game two. Conor Harber’s RBI base hit put WNC ahead 5-3 in the eighth.
Greer took over the WNC pitching staff’s lead with his fifth victory. The sophomore relieved Rayne Raven in the sixth inning and held the Bruins to three hits the rest of the way. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.
The Wildcats totaled 11 hits off four Bruin hurlers. Jake Bennett led the way with by going 3 for 5. Harber and Crunkilton collected two hits apiece.
In the opener, the Wildcats nearly pulled off a comeback win after trailing 3-0 entering the fifth inning.
The Wildcats scored once in the fifth inning and twice in the sixth to knot the score at 3. Salt Lake, however, used a leadoff double by Nick Urban and Whitney’s sacrifice fly to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Salt Lake closer Eric Carter retired the Wildcats in order, including two by strikeout, in the seventh to notch his ninth save of the season.
WNC is 26-12 overall and Salt Lake is 26-10.
The teams conclude their four-game series with a twin bill beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
— Western Nevada College
WNC drops two
The Western Nevada College softball team dropped two games (8-0 and 10-2) to Salt Lake on Friday.
Heather Septon’s 3-for-3 game wasn’t enough in the opener as WNC managed seven hits total. Andi Lee added two hits. Katilyn Covione went the distance giving up 13 hits, eight runs — five earned — with three walks and two strikeouts.
In the night cap, Lindsey Ashbaugh took the loss giving up nine hits, 10 runs — four earned — for the Wildcats. SLCC scored four in the first, two in the third and four in the fifth. WNC scored two runs in the third inning when Ashbaugh bashed a two-run homer. Six Wildcats had a hit apiece.
WNC is now 9-29 overall and 6-23 in the SWAC. The teams meet again today for another doubleheader.