Wildcats in first after four-game sweep of Southern Nevada
Western Nevada baseball coach D.J. Whittemore said Saturday night he has grown immune to the stress.
Four dramatic games decided in the last pitch either makes a coach insane or immune; Whittemore coming out on top of those four games has him leaning toward immune.
After a walk-off three-run home run in game 1 and a game-winning single in extra innings on Friday, the drama continued Saturday.
Brooks Klein, who hit the three-run homer Friday, had a walk-off RBI single in the first game Saturday to give WNC a 5-4 win.
In the second game, WNC was leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, but Southern Nevada was threatening. The Coyotes had the bases loaded with one out when pitcher Jeff Barto got a 5-4-3 double play to preserve the win.
“It is probably the best weekend we have ever had – it is by far the best weekend we have had this year,” Whittemore said.
After the drama and the dirt settled, the Wildcats found themselves in first place in the Scenic West Athletic Conference at 22-6 and 34-9 overall.
The four-game sweep extended the Wildcats winning streak to 16 games. They have a one-game lead over CSN with 12 games to play. Whittemore warned that WNC hasn’t won anything yet.
“We are in first place, but we have a extremely challenging schedule ahead,” he said.
In Saturday’s opener, Jordan Lewis threw six innings while allowing four runs. He was relieved by Riley Bevill who picked up the win, tossing a scoreless seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jonathan Sigado doubled and advanced to third on error. He scored the winning run on Klein’s single.
Pat McMeel had a pair of hits, scored a run and had an RBI in the game. Kevin Taylor and Eric Maupin each had a hit and RBI in the game. Spencer Ofelt had a triple and scored a run. Chris Sinclair also had a hit.
It was a total team effort, like Friday’s wins.
“With this team it is not just starting pitching, or bullpen or offense, it is a combination of all three. We don’t just have solid ‘3’ and ‘4’ hitters, we have dangerous bats one through nine. We have good quality starters and relief pitchers,” Whittemore said.
In the nightcap the team concept stayed true.
Ofelt hit a two-run shot to put WNC up in the first inning.
Jeremy Gendlak pitched 6.1 innings of solid ball with his only blemish being a two-run home run to Bryce Harper, the SWAC’s leading hitter at .422 heading into the weekend.
It was Harper’s 16th homer of the season. The freshman is the country’s No. 1 prospect. He dropped out of Las Vegas High School after his sophomore year, earned his GED and enrolled at CSN to make himself available for the 2010 Major League Amateur Draft in June.
Gendlak, though, was solid other wise. He was removed in the seventh after CSN loaded the bases. That’s when Barto got the game-ending double play and WNC found itself in first place.
“Every game came down to the last pitch,” Whittemore said.
Klein was 2-for-3 with a double. Jay Skilton, Taylor and Sinclair all added hits. Taylor had an RBI and a run scored.
“At the end of the weekend, Southern Nevada (ranked No. 2 in the country) was every bit as good (as advertised). We had to play our ‘A’ game to win and fortunately we did.”
WNC, ranked 11th coming into the weekend, will move up the junior college rankings before hitting the road for a four-game series at Southern Idaho starting at 1 p.m. on Friday.