Maybe the Western Nevada Community College baseball team has finally turned the corner.
WNCC was able to pull out a 1-0 win in eight innings in the opener on its way to a sweep at Salt Lake City Community College on Saturday. The Wildcats won the nightcap 7-3.
With the sweep, WNCC took 3-of-4 in the series. It's the first time in the Scenic West Athletic Conference this season that a team has been able to go on the road and take a series from one of the league's top four teams.
The Wildcats (25-20-1) also took command in the race for third in the SWAC. WNCC improved to 19-13 in the SWAC while Salt Lake fell to 17-15.
WNCC has also received some help in keeping its slim chance of finishing second in the SWAC alive. Last place Colorado Northwestern Community College shocked College of Southern Idaho by earning a split at Twin Falls on Friday.
Southern Idaho fell into second heading into today's games at 21-9. Community College of Southern Nevada moved into first at 22-8 heading into Saturday. Southern Idaho will finish the regular season at CCSN.
But the Wildcats can't take anything for granted. After a nonconference game at Feather River on Wednesday, WNCC will host Colorado Northwestern in a four-game series this weekend.
Colorado Northwestern already has a win over the Wildcats this season. In this year's playoff format, the top two teams will be the hosts and will receive a bye.
"It was really nice to win a game on the road in extra innings and to be on the right end of a one-run game," WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said.
In the opener, WNCC's Stephen Sauer and Salt Lake's Tyson Ford matched each other in a pitchers duel. The last time Ford faced WNCC, he pitched a no-hitter against the Wildcats.
Ford went the distance, allowing three hits, striking out one and walking five. "He was awesome," Whittemore said. "He pitched out of some trouble."
Sauer allowed one hit over seven innings while striking out six to pick up the win. "Saurer pitched a phenomenal game," Whittemore said.
Jeremy Joustra also pitched well on the day in relief. Joustra retired the side in order in the eighth to pick up the save and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in the nightcap to pick up the win. "He was outstanding," Whittemore said.
WNCC scratched out a run in the eighth without a hit. Andrew Ferguson reached first on catcher's interference on a 3-2 pitch and Thomas Miller walked.
Kevin Schlange bunted back to Ford, who threw to third. The throw rolled away form the third baseman and Ferguson was able to score. Miller doubled and Ferguson and Andrew Reid had WNCC's other hits.
Josh Creveling started in the nightcap and allowed two runs over 2.2 innings. WNCC was able to take advantage of six walks and two hit batsmen.
Brad Carlsen's two-run triple and Anthony Garcia's RBI single gave the Wildcats a 3-1 lead in the second.
WNCC led 3-2 in the third when Creveling gave up back-to-back singles. On a 3-2 pitch, Creveling was able to pick off the runner at second and then got a flyball. After walking the next batter, he gave way to Joustra.
The Wildcats took a 4-2 lead in the in the fifth and went up 6-2 in the sixth. Reid and Shepard singled and Carlsen, Taylor Mieras and Kyle Bondurant all walked to force in two runs. Shepard's RBI double made it 7-3 in the seventh.
Jake Bottari allowed one run in the sixth and Dan Grubbs pitched a scoreless seventh. Shepard went 3-for-4.