Western Nevada College tuned up for its Scenic West Athletic Conference opener with a 15-6 nonleague victory over Sierra College at John L. Harvey Field Tuesday afternoon.
The win gives WNC a 9-7 record heading into Thursday’s home conference opener (1 p.m.) against College of Southern Idaho. The series was originally supposed to be played in Twin Falls, but a gloomy weather forecast forced the coaches to swap locations. WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said the days of the series could still be switched. He said he would be keeping a close eye on weather reports.
The Wildcats feasted on Sierra pitching for 15 hits, including four by Brad Lewis and two each by Austin Andrews and Corey Pool. Lewis and Andrews each drove in two runs, while Pool drove in three, including an opposite-field solo homer in the fifth.
“We played well offensively,” Whittemore said. “Andrews and Lewis both had good days. Sierra is a good team, and getting a win sets us in the right direction for our conference season.”
Western Nevada wasted little time in taking the lead.
David Modler walked and scored on Lewis’ triple to right field against starter Bryce Reichmann, who was one of eight Sierra hurlers on the day. Lewis scored on Kody Reynolds’ infield out.
Western tacked on seven more runs in the third, all charged to Aidan Kearney, to take a 9-0 lead.
The Wildcats got two hits in the inning from Andrews (and two RBI) and one hit each from Jake Bennett, Reynolds, Parker Woodley and Tim Lichty.
Kearney contributed to his own demise by hitting Pool to force in a run and walking D.J. Peters with the bases loaded.
Peters worked two scoreless innings, and then gave way to Cody Kerns, who tossed a scoreless third.
Sierra broke through for three runs in the fourth off Ty Fox.
Ethan Liddle walked with the bases loaded and Dom Bethancourt doubled home two runs.
WNC stretched the lead to 10-3 in the fifth on Pool’s solo homer. Bethancourt was clutch again in the top of the sixth with a sacrifice fly to score Brett Sundberg, who had doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. That sliced the lead to 10-4.
Lewis doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on a double by Brandon Lapointe to make it 11-4. Lewis would end up a homer short of a cycle.
“I didn’t realize it at first,” Lewis said. “I was oh so close.
“I swung the bat a lot better today than I did in Las Vegas. I made some adjustments in practice. I worked on keeping my head down (on the ball).”
After a scoreless seventh, WNC racked Aaron Herr for four runs and four hits in the eighth to make it 15-4.
Lewis again started the rally, this time with a single.
He moved to third on Blake Morin’s single, and both scored on a triple by utility man Riley Ingram. After Lichty was hit by a pitch, Brogan Secrist singled in a run in his only at-bat of the day.
Freshman Chase Kaplan, the seventh WNC pitcher of the day, gave up two meaningless runs in the eighth to close out the scoring.
Peters picked up the win.
Whittemore explained his pitching strategy.
“We have a four-game conference series later in the week, and we need everyone to be fresh for that.”