With a 6-2 loss at Eastern Utah Community College on Friday, the Western Nevada Community College baseball team was officially eliminated from the race to finish in the top two in the regular season in the Scenic West Athletic Conference.
But the Wildcats bounced back for an 8-3 win against Eastern Utah in the nightcap of a doubleheader. WNCC (30-21-2, 24-14), which is now locked into third place, knows it's going to play last place Colorado Northwestern on Thursday when the SWAC postseason tournament opens in a double elimination format. The Wildcats just don't know where they're going to play, yet.
It will be either at College of Southern Idaho or Community College of Southern Nevada, who are battling for the SWAC regular season title. CCSN beat Southern Idaho 4-3 on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning in the first game of a doubleheader on Friday.
Both teams were 27-10 heading into the last three games of the series. WNCC will travel to the team that finishes second.
WNCC will finish the regular season today in a doubleheader at Eastern Utah. "We told our guys tomorrow's our last time out to get us ready for Thursday's game," WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said. "We've got to clean it up and get ready to go."
In the opener, the Wildcats settled for a 1-0 lead in the third after loading the bases with no outs. A run scored on a fielder's choice to make it 1-0, leaving runners at first and third with one out. But then a baserunning mistake took WNCC out of the inning.
Justin Garcia shut out Eastern Utah through the first four innings before the Golden Eagles tied the score 1-1 in the fifth. Then in the sixth, Garcia was chased by four straight hits that made it 3-1.
"Garcia was great for four," Whittemore said. "Maybe he got a little tired. They hit a couple of balls where we weren't standing."
Jeremy Joustra, who has been outstanding of late, entered, but was ineffective as four of the five hitters he faced reached base, giving Eastern Utah a 6-1 lead. T.J. Wohlever came in and on one pitch he induced an inning-ending double play.
Kyle Bondurant's RBI single in the seventh made it 6-2. Chuck Howard was 2-for-3 and Taylor Mieras, Pat Grennan and Brad Carlsen all added a hit.
In the nightcap, WNCC scored one in the first and four in the second to take a 5-0 lead. The Wildcats added runs in the third, fourth and sixth to make it 8-1.
Cole Rohrbough allowed one run on three hits while striking out six over four innings. "Rohrbough was outstanding," Whittemore said.
Wes Osmer pitched a scoreless fifth and Chris Rickey pitched a scoreless sixth. Josh Brink was charged with two runs before Wohlever finished up.
Bondurant had three hits and Andrew Reid continued his surge late in the year, going 3-for-3. Carlsen had a hit to extend his hitting streak to eight games and Shepard, Carlsen and Howard all added a hit.
Stephen Sauer is scheduled to start the opener today while Jake Bottari is slated to start the nightcap.