WNC roundup: Wildcat baseball finishes off sweep of Salt Lake
Call Eric Flores an opportunist.
The Western Nevada College freshman first baseman has made the most of his part-time role with the Wildcats this spring.
On Saturday afternoon, Flores took advantage of a starting role, blasting a first-inning grand slam as WNC won the opening game of a Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader against Salt Lake, 10-1, at John L. Harvey Field in Carson City.
Flores’ first homer of the season provided ample offensive support for freshman left-hander Jordan Ragan, who held the Bruins to four hits in his second complete game in three starts.
The “Jordan” pitching theme continued in Game 2 as Wildcat sophomore Jordan Dreibelbis fired a three-hit complete game in a 9-1 Wildcat victory.
Pitching with a six-run lead calmed down Ragan, who ran his record to 5-1.
Ragan gave up a first-inning home run, but his roommate, who just so happens to be Flores, had his back.
“I knew we were going to score a whole bunch,” Ragan said. “Eric actually came up to me after that kid hit the home run and said, ‘Hey, I hit home runs, too.’ And he ended up hitting a grand slam the next inning. It was nice.”
Sam Salyers was behind the plate for both complete-game pitching efforts.
With the series sweep, WNC (20-8) remained four games behind first-place College of Southern Nevada. The Wildcats improved to 30-14 overall, guaranteeing the program its 11th straight winning season.
An unfortunate accident transpired in the first inning of the opener when Salt Lake freshman pitcher Mason Abrath was hit in the head on a line drive off the bat of Tim Lichty. Abrath was able to get on a stretcher on his own and was transported to a Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.
“Our prayers are with him, for sure,” said WNC coach D.J. Whittemore, who was told Abrath has suffered skull fractures and is being treated in Renown’s Intensive Care Unit.
Dreibelbis (5-2) held the Bruins hitless in six of the seven innings. All three Salt Lake hits came in the fourth inning.
The first three WNC hitters reached base in the second game. David Modler, Chandler Barkdull and D.J. Peters hit consecutive singles to load the bases. Following the first out, Brogan Secrist put down a bunt along the first-base line to squeeze in Modler. Salt Lake first baseman Austin Ovard dropped the throw from the catcher, giving Barkdull time to cross the plate on the error.
Peters launched his 10th homer of the season to touch off a six-run fifth inning. The sophomore outfielder hit a fastball that reliever Andrew Reich located near the middle of the plate.
After the homer, Reich lost control of the strike zone, hitting Lichty and Secrist, then walking Justin Mannens and Flores to force home a run. Lichty remained on the ground for a few minutes after the ball hit him just under the back of his helmet. He eventually walked to first base and was removed from the game. He was later taken to Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.
Whittemore said Lichty suffered a concussion and was scheduled to be released from the hospital late Saturday night.
“He is doing well, and he’ll need to keep a close eye on it over the next 48 hours,” Whittemore said.
The Wildcats extended the rally in the fifth as back-to-back, two-run doubles by Salyers and Casey Cornwell made the score 8-1.
Bruins sweep WNC
Salt Lake, after splitting Friday’s doubleheader, had an easy time on Saturday against Western Nevada at the Pete Livermore Sports Complex.
Salt Lake won 7-0 and 8-0, as the Wildcats managed just four hits on the day.
The Bruins broke open a scoreless tie in the fifth inning of the opener, scoring five times. Briauna Carter had WNC’s only hit.
In the second game, Salt Lake scored one in the first and six in the third to take control. Karly Bunderson singled, homered and drove in three runs.
Kaylee Jausi, Kacie Freudenberger and Gabby Canibeyaz all singled in a losing effort.