WNC home regular-season win streak ends at 40
The streak is over.
Western Nevada College’s home Scenic West Athletic Conference regular-season winning streak ended at 40 games when the Wildcats dropped a doubleheader to Salt Lake Community College, 7-5 and 4-1, Friday afternoon at John L. Harvey Field.
The losses dropped WNC out of first place. Salt Lake improved to 14-2 while the Wildcats dropped to 14-45. The teams, weather permitting, will play a doubleheader today starting at 11 a.m.
It was certainly tough to swallow for the Wildcats. Salt Lake has now won four straight at John L. Harvey Field, the two on Friday and two last year in the SWAC tournament. Salt Lake appears to be one team unafraid when it comes to Carson City.
“We got outplayed and outscored,” a disappointed WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said. “They are a confident and talented group.”
The mood was somber. It was a different post-game atmosphere. For the second time in less than a year, the Wildcats had to watch Salt Lake celebrate at John L. Harvey Field. At the very least, the Wildcats knew they should have had no worse than a split. WNC blew a 5-3 lead in the seventh in the opener, and then left the bases loaded in three of the last four innings in the nightcap.
“They play a lot similar to us,” infielder Taylor Smart said. “They play every pitch, play hard and play physical.
“We didn’t talk at all about the streak, not even among the returning players. It’s a different season, and that was a while back. It’s all in the game. They outhit us and outplayed us. Our team is the type that we’ll come back and work even harder; keep plugging away. We had opportunities, we really did. We just didn’t take advantage of them.”
The day started on a strange note. Andrew Woeck was scheduled to start the opener, but a freak accident in the bullpen caused some bleeding on his right index finger, and he had to be scratched. The game was delayed for about 11 minutes so that Whittemore could get Anthony Consiglio warmed up.
Consiglio went 5.2 innings and left with the score tied at 3. He fanned seven and walked two.
“Anthony threw a lot of good pitches,” Whittemore said. “He gave us a chance to win that game. That’s the type of game we expect from a sophomore.”
Western Nevada took a 5-3 lead in the last of the sixth, scoring twice off Aaron Robbs, everything happening after two outs.
Bobby Pappin doubled and AJ Hernandez followed with a single back up the middle. Hernandez ended up scoring on an off-field double by lefty Mike Umscheid.
Then disaster struck, and Whittemore took part of the blame.
After Dalton Gust forced J.C. Snyder at second, Tyler Spencer struck out Nathan Fishel for the second out. Braden Anderson followed with a groundball between first and second to send Gust to third.
“He (Anderson) hit the ball where I should have had the first baseman standing,” Whittemore said. “We were holding the runner on. The game should have ended there.”
That’s true. That run meant nothing because the Wildcats had a two-run lead. Spencer compounded things when he gave up a game-tying double to Steven Adam on a 1-2 fastball that was up in the zone. Dominique Taylor cleared the bases with a two-run homer and a 7-5 lead.
“We let them beat us deep,” Whittemore. “You don’t want to give up a double in that situation. I’ll take responsibility.”
WNC went out 1-2-3 in the seventh, ending its 40-game streak.
Woeck was able to come back and start the second game, and he turned in a solid six-inning, 5-hit effort.
“I felt like I threw pretty well,” said Woeck, who is headed to North Carolina State. “I haven’t been feeling well, but I was able to get past that and give us chance.”
Woeck left the game trailing 2-1. He allowed five hits and one earned run while striking out five and walking two.
Zach Hendrix drove in Western’s first run with a two-out single in the fourth. Little did anybody know that would be the Wildcats’ last run of the contest.
WNC loaded the bases in the sixth with one out on two walk and a single by Smart. Rhett Parkinson, the second of three SLCC pitchers, struck out Hendrix and retired Umscheid on a soft liner to short.
The Bruins took a 3-1 lead thanks in part to a wild pick-off throw by Matt Robertson. Salt Lake added an insurance run in the top of the eighth on a run-scoring single by Anderson.
In the bottom of the eighth, WNC loaded the bases with two outs on a fielder’s choice and two walks. Dane Fuller came on in relief and struck out Neil Lawhorn looking.
Robertson worked a scoreless ninth, and the partisan crowd was hoping for some ninth-inning magic.
An error and two walks loaded the bases with no outs, but Fuller got Smart on a pop-up to second and then struck out Dillon Ness and Derrick Pitts to end the game. WNC left 12 runners on, 10 in the last four innings.