Wildcats lose two to Southern Idaho, split series
After struggling to a series split against fifth-place Southern Idaho, D.J. Whittemore was forced to come to a realization about his team.
“We’re an average team right now and if we don’t like it, we’re going to have to do something about it,” said the Western Nevada College baseball coach.
The Wildcats dropped the final two games of a four-game series Saturday to the Golden Eagles 2-0 and 2-1 as they left 15 runners on base between the two games.
WNC moved to 6-6 in the Scenic West Athletic Conference and 18-9 overall, while Southern Idaho (4-8, 15-13) split a conference series for the first time this season.
Although both games were close, the low run totals came for completely different reasons. Jake Waardenburg dealt 8 1/3 innings of scoreless work in the first game before walking a batter and finding his exit from the game. The sophomore gave way to Kody Gorden, who gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced. He then surrendered a two-RBI double to pincher hitter Tanner Craswell.
Waardenburg (3-1) took the loss.
The second game saw the return of Jordan Lewis as a starting pitcher. The sophomore, who was one of the Wildcats’ top returning pitchers, struggled with his command for most of the game. He gave up a leadoff double to Ryan Cooperstone in the first inning and struck out the next batter Ryan Lay. Lewis (0-1) then gave up a an RBI single to Michael Wesner before walking the next two batters.
“My delivery was just off,” said Lewis, who had pitched just nine innings prior to Saturday because of a groin injury. “I was thinking too much. I just couldn’t figure out my release point so I was throwing a lot of balls in the dirt. It just took a couple innings to figure out.
Lewis (0-1) pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight hits on four strikeouts and two walks.
Wesner scored after he stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and was brought home on a fielding error. The defense pulled the inning out with a 6-4-3 double play to limit the damage.
WNC got on the board in the second inning after Kyle Conwell and Chris Sinclair both hit singles to lead off the inning. Spencer Ofelt put down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Blake Lively, who threw the ball away on the way to first. Conwell scored on the error.
The Wildcats couldn’t put another hit together and left two runners stranded.
They left the bases loaded in the fourth after Jonathan Sigado popped up to the catcher on a sacrifice bunt attempt with two runners on and no outs. Trevor Goff was hit by a pitch with two outs, but Jay Skilton flied out to centerfield for the final out.
WNC sat down in order in the final three innings.
“The only fault today was in our execution,” Whittemore said. “We had some opportunities to advance some runners on a sac bunt that we didn’t get done. We had some opportunities to drive some runners in with less than two outs and we didn’t get it done. And when you’re playing baseball against good teams, that’s key.
The Wildcats will face conference leading Salt Lake on Friday as part of a doubleheader, which begins at noon at John L. Harvey Field.