Doubleheader sweep has WNC one game back of Southern Nevada |

Doubleheader sweep has WNC one game back of Southern Nevada

Steve Puterski
Nevada Appeal News Service

Western Nevada College baseball coach D.J. Whittemore had about all the tension he could take during Friday’s doubleheader against College of Southern Nevada at John L. Harvey Field.

Not only was his team taking on in-state rival CSN, the country’s No. 2 team, but the No. 11 Wildcats squeaked out both games in the final at-bat. As a result of the two wins, the Wildcats kept alive a season-high 14-game winning streak.

WNC’s last loss came on March 20 to Southern Idaho. WNC and CSN continue their four-game series today with another doubleheader starting at noon at John L. Harvey Field.

“Our men really battled all day,” Whittemore said. “They beat a really good team today.”

Brooks Klein smashed a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift WNC to a 5-3 victory in game one. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Coyotes.

In game 2, teammate Spencer Ofelt would not be outdone as the sophomore infielder came up clutch in game two.

Ofelt lined a single off Coyotes second baseman Scott Dysinger to score Andrew Garcia as the Wildcats held on for a 6-5 win in 11 innings.

“It’s cliche, but it was a team effort today,” Whittemore said. “You preach unselfishness and contribute anyway you can, and then when it actually happens, it feels pretty good.”

The wins improve the Wildcats record to 20-6 in the Scenic Western Athletic Conference and 32-9 overall. CSN drops to 21-5 in conference and 34-8 overall.

Another challenge for the Wildcats was to slow down the Coyotes potent offense, highlighted by the country’s No. 1 prospect, Bryce Harper. Harper made national headlines last year when he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Harper, then a sophomore at Las Vegas High School, dropped out, earned his GED and enrolled at CSN to make himself available for the 2010 Major League Amateur Draft in June.

Heading into Friday, Harper was leading CSN with a .422 batting average, 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and an .891 slugging percentage. Harper, though, couldn’t get his offensive game going as he went 0-for-7 with one walk.

The Wildcats pitchers’ didn’t seem fazed by the big sticks of CSN, though. WNC pitcher Kramer Champlin beat Coyotes aces Donn Roach in the first game. Champlin pitched seven innings, allowed three runs, three hits and struck out two.

“(Kramer) Champlin is really good,” Whittemore said. “He pitched a hell of a ball game and made one bad pitch in seven innings.”

In the first game, the Coyotes struck first on a three-run homer from Trent Cook to give CSN a 3-0 lead. WNC would claw its way back in the bottom of the sixth.

Jay Skilton singled and scored on a double by Kevin Taylor. After Ofelt moved Taylor to third on a ground out to second base, Taylor cut the lead to one on a ground out from Kyle Conwell.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, catcher Chris Sinclair walked and moved to second on a single by Eric Maupin. Roach was relieved by Aaron Kurcz, who gave up the game-winning blast to Klein with one out.

“I just took a deep breath going up to the plate,” Klein said. “I was looking fastball and he (Kurcz) gave it to me.”

In the second game, the Wildcats got the bats going early highlighted by a solo homer from Ofelt in the fourth inning as WNC took a 3-0 after five innings.

However, the Coyotes wouldn’t go away.

In the top of the sixth inning, Gabe Weidenaar homered to lead off the frame. With one out, Marvin Campbell double to left and Cook walked. Ryan Thomas then singled to drive in Weidenaar and Campbell scored on a ground out by Ryan Scott to tie the game.

CSN took its first lead in the top of the ninth when Scott doubled and Daniel Higa walked to give the Coyotes runners on first and second with no outs.

Tim Peterson relieved David Carroll and retired the next two batters. However, Weidenaar singled to drive in two runs and give CSN a 5-3 lead.

WNC countered with two runs of its own with two outs in the bottom half of the inning. Maupin and Klein walked and scored on back-to-back singles from Skilton and Taylor.

In the bottom of the 11th, Garcia singled and Skilton smoked a ball to Higa, but the ball took a hop and hit Higa in the face to put runners on first and third. Taylor was intentionally walked, but Ofelt came away with the clutch hit.

“I was in a hole and I just put the bat on the ball,” Ofelt said. “When you put the ball in play, good things happen.”


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