Wildcat baseball splits at Salt Lake
David Modler’s two-run double highlighted a four-run fourth inning to support the complete-game pitching effort of Matt Young as Western Nevada College rallied for a 6-3 baseball victory over Salt Lake in the opening game of a twin bill on Friday in West Jordan, Utah.
WNC rallied from a six-run deficit to tie Salt Lake in Game 2, but the Bruins outlasted the Wildcats, 14-10, to gain a doubleheader split. The games were originally scheduled for Carson City, but weather concerns shifted the series to Utah.
Young tossed his second straight complete game, surrendering five hits and one earned run as the sophomore raised his season record to 3-2. The left-hander struck out seven and walked one.
Salt Lake put runners on second and third bases to open the seventh inning, but Young used two groundball outs and a strikeout to lift the Wildcats to their fifth straight conference victory.
Tim Lichty homered, then Bradley Lewis hit a two-bagger off the right-field wall. However, Bruin pitcher Lincoln Clayton retired the next three Wildcats on fly outs to keep Salt Lake ahead 2-1.
After leaving three runners on base in the first three innings, the Wildcats knocked them in during the fourth. Lewis started the rally with a base hit to center, then Daniel Nist and Justin Mannens drew walks. Modler’s double into the gap in left-center field scored both Lewis and Nist to give WNC its first lead, 3-2. A balk by Clayton brought home Mannens.
Young retired nine Bruins in a row before running into some two-out trouble in the fourth. With runners on first and third bases, Young induced Isaac Evans to hit into an infield popup to end the threat.
WNC chased Clayton in the fifth on a Lewis triple — his third hit of the game — and a walk to Mannens. The Wildcats stayed aggressive against reliever Scott Stokes, pulling off a double steal that sent Lewis home for a 6-2 Wildcat lead.
Offensively for WNC, Lewis went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, Modler was 1 for 3 with a run scored and two RBI and D.J. Peters was 1 for 2 with two walks.
WNC stayed disciplined at the plate despite falling behind 7-1 in Game 2. Five of the eight walks issued to the Wildcats in the third through fifth innings came around to score. Freshman Chandler Barkdull stroked a two-run single in the fourth inning and his RBI base hit in the fifth tied the score at 7.
In the seventh, Modler’s sacrifice bunt along the first-base line scored Brogan Secrist, trimming Salt Lake’s lead to 10-8.
But a baseball rarity — an inside-the-park grand slam — ultimately put away the Wildcats. Bruin leadoff hitter Mitch Berryhill delivered the decisive blow off WNC reliever Kyle Thompson in the seventh inning.
Casey Cornwell’s two-RBI single in the eighth completed the scoring.
WNC left 12 runners on base and committed six errors.
Only one of the seven runs allowed by WNC starter Chase Kaplan was earned. WNC’s second pitcher, Jordan Dreibelbis, took the loss, giving up one earned run on five hits in three innings of relief.
Barkdull had three of WNC’s 10 hits and three RBI. Mannens scored three times, while Cornwell delivered two hits and three RBI.
The loss was WNC’s first in six SWAC games and ended the team’s eight-game winning streak. WNC (15-7 overall) plays two more games against Salt Lake today. First pitch is at 11 a.m.
WNC SOFTBALL DROPS TWO
WNC tested third-ranked Salt Lake in both ends of a Scenic West Athletic Conference softball doubleheader in Taylorsville, Utah.
WNC sophomore pitcher Kristina George threw five scoreless innings in a 6-1 loss in the opener, and Kacie Freudenberger knocked in two seventh-inning runs before the Bruins retired the Wildcats with the tying run at the plate for an 8-5 victory.
“We battled them well, except for one inning in the first game and it was kind of too little, too late in the second game,” WNC coach Leah Wentworth said.
After blanking the Bruins through five innings, an error triggered Salt Lake’s decisive six-run sixth inning.
Dakota Robinson, Bailey Henderson and Makaylee Jaussi combined for six hits for WNC. Jaussi’s seventh-inning groundout plated Samantha Bell with the Wildcats’ only run.
In Game 2, WNC enjoyed several leads before Salt Lake delivered some key extra-base hits to separate from the Wildcats.
Noa Talia’s two-out single scored Henderson in the first inning for the game’s first run. WNC regained the lead, 2-1, on Melanie Mecham’s two-out homer in the third inning.
WNC pulled even 3-3 in the fourth as Talia scored on Gabrielle Canibeyaz’s base hit.
WNC fought back in its last at-bat. Freudenberger delivered a two-run single and the Wildcats brought the tying run to the plate before the Bruins recorded the final out.
The middle of the Wildcats’ batting order provided seven of the team’s nine hits. Freudenberger was 3 for 4 with two RBI, Mecham went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a RBI, and Talia was 2 for 3 with a run scored and a RBI.
The Wildcats dropped to 0-6 in the SWAC and 5-12 overall. Salt Lake (15-2 overall) remained unbeaten in SWAC play, improving to 6-0.
The teams collide for two more games on today. The twin bill starts at 11 a.m.