Jordan Ragan is changing WNC’s fortunes
Jordan Ragan is quickly becoming Western Nevada College baseball team’s momentum changer.
After dropping two straight games against College of Southern Idaho at Skip Walker Field in Twin Falls, the freshman left-hander righted the Wildcats with a five-hitter over seven innings in a 10-2 Scenic West Athletic Conference victory. CSI won Saturday’s opening game, 6-4, behind a six-run first inning.
Ragan (4-1) followed his three-hit shutout of first-place College of Southern Nevada by surrendering just one run to the Golden Eagles. He struck out two and walked one. Relievers Jordy Van den Heuvel and Kyle Thompson split the final two innings of work, completing a six-hitter.
Sophomore catcher Tim Lichty paced WNC’s 16-hit attack with a 3-for-5 performance, as well as knocking in three runs and scoring twice.
WNC stayed in second place in the SWAC with a 16-8 record. The Wildcats are 26-14 overall.
Doubles from Lichty, Chad Bell and Eric Flores fueled a four-run Wildcat third inning. WNC broke up the scoreless tie as Bell and Lichty hammered back-to-back doubles. After Lewis walked, both Wildcat baserunners moved up a base on a balk by Alex Perron. Lichty scored the second run of the inning on an Abe Yagi groundout. Flores’ double knocked in Lewis as WNC extended its lead to 3-0. Sam Salyers drove in the fourth run of the inning with a bunt single.
The Golden Eagles recorded their first hit off Ragan in the third when Cory Schmidt led off with a double. But after Schmidt took third base on a wild pitch, Ragan kept CSI scoreless when Kody Garvin lined out to Lewis in right, then WNC successfully appealed that Schmidt left third base early while attempting to score on the out.
CSI ended Ragan’s attempt to throw back-to-back shutouts in the fourth. Joey Rossi was hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count and advanced to third on a wild pitch and sacrifice bunt. He scored on Cody Barkdull’s groundout to second baseman David Modler.
Modler delivered WNC’s fourth double of the game to start the sixth. And Lichty didn’t leave him there, belting the Wildcats’ first homer of the series. Lichty’s two-run shot to right was his co-team-leading ninth of the season.
In the ninth, Brogan Secrist executed a squeeze bunt to score Bradley Lewis. Casey Cornwell delivered a two-run single and Modler chipped in with a RBI base hit later in the inning. The game was delayed in the ninth when a thunderstorm moved into the area.
Bell had two of his team’s doubles in four at-bats. Six of WNC’s 16 hits went for extra bases. Modler, Salyers and Daniel Nist also collected two hits for the Wildcats.
In the opener, the Golden Eagles didn’t allow WNC starting pitcher Jordan Dreibelbis to establish a rhythm in the first frame, erupting for six runs. Cole Walters doubled, Mason Hayes stroked a RBI single and Blake Sanchez slammed a two-run homer to left. The scoring didn’t end there as Trevor Lippard ripped a RBI triple to right. Jake Boyd’s safety squeeze bunt brought home Lippard and Schmidt’s run-scoring base hit capped the fruitful first.
CSI left-hander Alec West-Guillen of Reno gave up just one hit through three innings. However, DJ Peters collected his second hit of the afternoon with a knock to open the fourth inning. Lewis followed with a four-pitch walk. With two outs, Nist spoiled West-Guillen’s shutout bid with a run-scoring double. But West-Guillen struck out pinch-hitter Lichty to keep the score at 6-1.
The Wildcats chased West-Guillen in the fifth. Two errors on Peters’ base hit allowed three runs to score, cutting CSI’s lead to 6-4. But reliever Tyler Rosas got out of the jam by picking off Yagi on second base with the potential tying runs on base.
Dreibelbis (4-2) was able to make it through five innings despite his rough start. He was relieved by Peters to begin the sixth. Quentin Marcelin greeted Peters with a double. But the Wildcats saved a run as Peters flipped the ball to Lichty, who tagged out Marcelin before he could cross the plate. Peters fanned Walters to stand two baserunners.
Rosas protected the two-run lead in the sixth and seventh, retiring the final six Wildcats he faced.
Peters was three for four and scored twice. Nist and Bell were the only other Wildcats who provided a hit.
Dreibelbis gave up seven hits and six earned runs. The sophomore right-hander struck out four and walked two.
The Wildcats don’t have to worry about traveling for the remainder of the regular season. WNC will play its final four SWAC series at John L. Harvey Field, where it is 9-3 overall and 4-0 in conference games. The Wildcats begin their 16-game home stand by entertaining Salt Lake in a four-game series that starts on Friday.