Western Nevada College honored nine players on Sophomore Day on Saturday, and many of them contributed to a doubleheader sweep of College of Southern Idaho.
Sophomore catcher Cole Ferguson belted a pair of two-run doubles and sophomore pitchers Brandon Show and Austin Richmond craftily worked their way out of trouble in the Wildcats’ 4-2 and 7-2 Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball wins at John L. Harvey Field.
The four-game sweep of the Golden Eagles means that the Wildcats finish in a second-place SWAC tie with Salt Lake, but WNC will go into the Region 18 tournament as the second seed by virtue of winning the season series from the Bruins.
“Really just happy to take the sophomores out in style,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore. “Those guys have meant a lot to the program and to see them go out on top at home feels good.
“I think they have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. We haven’t played a home game since March (23). That’s a long time for a baseball team not to get a home game.”
Whittemore honored eight sophomores and a redshirt freshman between games.
“It was definitely emotional. It has gone by so quick, you don’t realize it,” said Ferguson, who leads the Wildcats with 41 RBI, and, as a second-year catcher, has helped make the pitching staff one of the conference’s toughest with a 2.66 team ERA.
In the opener, Ferguson padded his team-leading RBI total by knocking in Joey Crunkilton and Conor Harber with a double to right-center field, putting WNC ahead 3-1 in the third inning.
Later in the inning, Alex Fife executed a safety squeeze bunt to score Ferguson for a 4-1 WNC lead.
Left-hander Brock Pellow relieved WNC starter Show to start the fifth inning. The Golden Eagles greeted Pellow with an unearned run to pull within 4-2, but Pellow kept the Wildcats in front with his two-inning relief stint.
Show (4-1), making only his sixth start of the season because of an elbow injury, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
CSI connected for three hits in the second inning, but a picked off baserunner diffused the rally. Show stranded runners on second and third bases by striking out Kendal Maier on a high fastball.
Harber made only his fifth relief appearance of the season in the seventh inning. He struck out pinch-hitter Patrick Green, after hitting Bobby Wright with a pitch, then Harber retired Preston Young on strikes. The freshman right-hander completed his first save of the season by outlasting Carter Yagi in an 11-pitch battle that ended with Yagi flying out to center fielder Donald Glover Jr.
In a rainy game two, Glover Jr. put the Wildcats in front 2-0 on a two-run base hit to center in the first inning. CSI starting pitcher Joey Getz walked the bases loaded before Glover Jr.’s productive hit.
WNC extended its lead to 5-1 by pushing three runs across the plate in the second. Ferguson’s second two-run double of the day, a liner to left field, scored Tony Roque and Matt Becker.
A two-run triple by Roque in the fifth expanded the Wildcats’ lead to 7-2. Glover Jr. started the two-out rally with a standup triple to center.
WNC finished the regular season with a 38-18 overall record. The Wildcats won 14 of their final 16 SWAC games to compile a 23-13 conference mark.
CSN SWEEPS WNC
HENDERSON — College of Southern Nevada completed a four-game softball sweep of Western Nevada College with 7-1 and 8-2 victories in Las Vegas.
Coyote pitcher Alashanee Medina kept the Wildcats off the bases in the opener, allowing only two hits while striking out five.
Andrea Lee provided WNC’s first hit in the fourth inning after Heather Septon scored an unearned run in the third for a 1-0 WNC lead. But CSN pulled away with a five-run fifth inning. Tiffani Taylor homered and Jasmine Fukuda had three hits for the Coyotes.
Madison Gonzalez had WNC’s other hit off Medina.
In the second game, CSN jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first two innings against WNC starting pitcher Carlee Beck, with WNC getting its two runs in the fifth on Jennifer Rechel’s base hit.
Septon, Jennifer Quam and Sydney Darby each had two hits for the Wildcats, who totaled nine.
The Wildcats concluded the regular season with a 15-31 SWAC record. They had come into the series having won seven of 11 games.
The same teams will meet in the Region 18 tournament on Wednesday at College of Southern Idaho.