WNC baseball sweeps doubleheader
Western Nevada College
Oregonian Jordan Ragan said he didn’t have any extra motivation facing an Oregon team on Saturday. Ragan turned in his season-best performance to date by hurling four perfect innings in the Western Nevada College’s 10-2 baseball victory over Mount Hood Community College of Gresham, Ore., at John L. Harvey Field in Carson City.
The freshman from Medford, Ore., was backed by a 14-hit attack — a feat the Wildcats repeated in a 9-5 come-from-behind victory in Game 2.
There have been two no-hitters in the history of WNC’s program: Christian Stolo threw one against Colorado Northwestern in 2013 and Kramer Champlin recorded the program’s first hitless complete game in 2009. Ragan said he couldn’t help but think about throwing a no-hitter himself.
“You always think about it, but you still have to go out there and pitch,” Ragan said. “I knew the fifth inning would be hard because I had the middle of their lineup coming up.”
Ragan (1-1) lost his perfect game in the fifth and left after throwing a two-hitter over 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out one.
“It’s only his fourth start in college, and it was pretty good,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore. “Jordan came to us pretty polished. He hasn’t needed to change much, just fine-tune everything because you have to get college hitters out. Probably the No. 1 thing he hasn’t been able to do is get groundball outs the way he needs to and pitching down in the strike zone — that’s what he’s been working on.
“He and (catcher Tim) Lichty did a nice job and they let the defense work, and the defense made some nice play for them.”
Building on their Game 2 victory on Friday, the middle of WNC’s batting order supplied nine of the 14 hits and knocked in five runs. Bradley Lewis led the way with three hits, while Lichty and Justin Mannens provided two hits and two RBI.
Cleanup hitter D.J. Peters triggered the Wildcats’ rally in Game 2, launching a mammoth three-run homer over the center-field fence. The top six hitters in WNC’s lineup had at least two hits, with Lichty leading the way with two doubles and a single. Eight of WNC’s hits went for extra bases.
“We put a lot of pressure on them,” Whittemore said. “That’s been our trademark this year and it’s been our trademark in the past: make guys work to get you out. Today, we battled and fouled a few pitches off, hung around and got some two-strike hits.”
Mount Hood’s Andrew Haley ended Ragan’s bid for perfection with a one-out double to right in the fifth. Ragan also lost his shutout in the same inning as Taylor Travess followed Haley with a RBI double.
Several players off the Wildcats’ bench expanded the lead in the sixth. Abe Yagi launched a run-scoring triple, and a RBI single off the bat of Riley Hennings made the score 9-2.
Jordy Van den Heuvel of Belgium made his season debut for the Wildcats, tossing the final 1 1/3 innings. He surrendered two hits and struck out one.
“I’m pretty happy because I just came back from an injury,” Van den Heuvel said.
Added Whittemore, “He put a lot of time into his rehab and really worked hard the last four weeks, so I’m really excited for him.”
In the second game, Peters followed Brogan Secrist’s single and Lichty’s double with a homer estimated at 425 feet, knotting the score at 3. The rally included two more extra-base hits. Doubles by Yagi and Eric Flores gave WNC its first lead, 4-3.
Jordan Dreibelbis (2-0) gave up single runs in the fifth and seventh innings in four innings of relief before handing the ball to Josh Mill for the final two innings. Mill was particularly effective, retiring six of the seven batters he faced — three on strikes — to pick up his first save.
Besides Lichty’s three-hit performance, Bell was 2 for 4 with three runs scored, Secrist was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBI, Peters was 2 for 5 with two runs scored and four RBI, Yagi was 2 for 4 with a run scored and David Modler was 2 for 4.