WNCC drops opener, 2nd game called by darkness
It was a frustrating day for the Western Nevada Community College baseball team, but Wildcat coach D.J. Whittemore was able to keep everything in perspective.
The Wildcats got just one official game in during a scheduled doubleheader at the nation’s No. 11 team, New Mexico Junior College on Saturday. After dropping the first game 2-1, WNCC couldn’t hold a 5-2 lead in the second game, which was suspended after eight innings with the score tied 5-5 due to darkness.
But WNCC was able to go 2-1 on the road against two of the nation’s top teams after sweeping two games from Midland Junior College in Texas. The Wildcats, who are accustomed to using wood bats, were also able to do this while using aluminum bats.
“We’re not happy about that,” said Whittemore about his team’s 4-7 record. “I think we made strides in the right direction.
“I thought our pitchers did an outstanding job. We went 2-1 against two of the country’s best teams. We played good baseball.”
In the opener Josh Brink went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs, one earned on five hits while walking none. “He pitched his a– off,” Whittemore said. “He pitched great.”
Brink shut down New Mexico after allowing two runs in the first inning. New Mexico scored its two runs on the strength of a leadoff chopper over third for a single and an error.
WNCC made five errors, one each for every infielder, including the pitcher, Brink. “Brink pitched around the errors,” Whittemore said.
“It was pretty impressive. He really had his sinker going. They were beating the ball into th ground.”
Chris Rickey came on in the sixth and got a double play to end the inning. The Wildcats scored in the seventh when Cliff Shepard tripled and scored on Kevin Schlange’s groundball. Shepard and Brad Carlsen also doubled and Logan Parsley added a hit.
Stephen Sauer allowed two runs over 4.1 innings in the nightcap. WNCC took a 2-0 lead in the second on Taylor Mieras’ two-run home run.
Parsley hit a solo homer in the fifth to begin a three-run rally that gave the Wildcats a 5-2 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Dan Grubbs came on and got a double play to end the inning.
But Grubbs was touched for three runs in the sixth. Whittemore said New Mexico did a good job of putting the ball in play with two strikes against Grubbs.
New Mexico scored the tying run on a controversial play. With runners at first and third and one out, Jeremy Joustra picked the runner at first, forcing a rundown.
Second baseman Kyle Bondurant tagged the runner out and a collison ensued. But no obstruction was called and the tying run was allowed to score.
“I’m certainly not going to blame it on the umpires,” said Whittemore, who added his team had its chances to win.
Joustra pitched 2.2 scoreless innings. “He did a really nice job,” Whittemore said. On the day, WNCC pitchers walked just three in 14 innings.
Parsley was 2-for-4, Schlange was 2-for-4 with a double and Ryan Simpson and Chad Walling each added a hit.