Clutch pitching performances by Rayne Raven and Spencer Greer and key hitting by Jake Bennett carried the Western Nevada Wildcats to a sweep of their Scenic West Athletic Conference doubleheader against Colorado Northwestern on Friday at John L. Harvey Field.
In the seven-inning opener, Raven struck out four and allowed just five hits in a 7-1 WNC win. In the nine-inning nightcap, Greer threw 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, and Bennett hit a two-run homer in the sixth to snap a 4-all tie and give the Wildcats a 6-4 victory.
WNC, 29-13 overall, hosts Colorado Northwestern in a noon doubleheader. Ex-McQueen star Christian Stolo is scheduled to start the opener. WNC skipper D.J. Whittemore is uncertain regarding his second-game pitcher.
In the opener, Raven was staked to a quick 6-0 lead, as the Wildcats carved up the early offerings of Taylor Boggess for four hits en route to six runs. Brandon Lapointe, Connor Klein and Tony Roque had run-scoring singles while Kody Reynolds contributed a sacrifice fly. An error and infield out accounted for the other two scores.
Raven admitted that was a big help.
“I was really happy,” said the WNC right-hander. “It’s nice to get insurance runs like that early in the game. It enables me to challenge them with fastballs and let my defense make plays. It (today’s performance) ranks pretty high up there. This is the furthest I’ve gone in a start all season. I felt pretty comfortable. It was one of my better outings.”
Raven allowed a fourth-inning run that made it 6-1, but Joey Crunkilton got the run back with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning.
“He pounded the strike zone,” Whittemore said. “That is what you want from your starter in the first game of the series. This is the fourth straight outing (that he’s pitched well.
“We were ready to go from the first pitch (offensively). We were the beneficiary of an error on a two-ball (double-play ball) in that first inning.”
WNC led 4-3 after four in the second game, as Bennett squeezed home a run in the three-run second and then drove in another with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Colorado tied the game in the top of the fifth when Greg Reynolds singled home Jake Morgan, which marked the end of Max Karnos’ day.
“He (Karnos) threw strikes,” Whittemore said. “They were hitting the ball where we weren’t standing. He kept us in the ballgame.”
Greer got the last two outs of the fifth, then held the Spartans scoreless the rest of the way.
Bennett made him a winning pitcher when he jacked a two-out, two-run homer to right in the sixth, scoring Connor Klein, who had doubled. That blow gave WNC a 6-4 lead.
“He threw a curveball,” Bennett said. “He had thrown me a tight curveball earlier in the game. I wasn’t sure it was out when I hit it because of the win. I knew I’d hit it well.”
Greer was one out away from closing out the game when Conor Harber was brought in. Harber threw up three straight 90 mph pitches and fanned Bryce Lich to end the contest.
“Of course I wanted to finish,” Greer said. “I’m sure I’ll get some explanation. I’m happy I got the win.”
“Spencer has done that before (go four innings),” Whittemore said. “He went seven innings once in relief. I essentially have a starter in the bullpen. I was actually going to have Harber start the inning, but he’s been sick and I wasn’t sure what we’d be able to get out of him.”
Wildcats garner split in DH
RANGELY, Colo. — Katilyn Covione tossed a four-hitter and Makenzie Hospodka drove in five runs with a homer and triple to lead Western Nevada to an 8-1 win in the second game of Friday’s Scenic West Athletic Conference doubleheader against Colorado Northwestern.
The win snapped a 16-game losing streak.
In the opener, Colorado Northwestern scored once in the sixth to snap a 2-all tie and grab a 3-2 win despite an outstanding pitching effort by Carlee Beck.
The teams collide again today in a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.
Covione gave up her only run in the first, but her teammates scored three times in the bottom of the inning thanks to a bases-loaded triple by Hospodka with two outs.
WNC made it 4-1 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Cara McCarthy that scored Katelyn Bomar, who had reached on a walk.
The Wildcats made it 6-1 in the sixth when Jenny Rechel walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a double by Madi Gonzalez, who came around to score when McCarthy’s ball was misplayed. The Wildcats completed the scoring in the seventh on Hospodka’s two-run homer.
Gonzalez and Megan Hospodka led the 12-hit attack with three hits apiece, while Makenzie Hospodka and Covione added two hits each.
In the opener, the Spartans pushed across an unearned run to take the early lead. WNC tied the game in the top of the third when Covione singled and came around to score on an error. Colorado Northwestern took a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly in the third. Western evened the contest in the top of the sixth on a two-out error.
A two-out double by Jaisha Webb broke the deadlock in the sixth.