SPOKANE, Wash. – Hugh Smith allowed only two runs while surviving two weather delays, leading Whitworth to an 8-5 win over Case Western Reserve in an opening round game of the NCAA Division III West Regional on Wednesday night at Avista Stadium.
The Pirates improved to 30-11 and will face Texas-Tyler (31-17) in a winners' bracket game on Thursday night.
Hughes went 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. But just as important, he endured a 47-minute lightning delay in the fourth inning and a 17 minute rain delay in the fifth to improve to 6-1 this season.
The Pirates got off to a quick start, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. Joel Condreay singled up the middle to drive in a pair of runs in the first. Garrett Hughes drilled a two-run home run in the second, giving Whitworth a quick 4-0 lead.
Daniel Casenova's RBI single in the third stretched the margin to 5-0.
The Spartans (26-14) got on the board for the first time against Smith in the bottom of the third on a bases-loaded ground ball double play. That was all CWRU would get in the inning after loading the bases with no outs. The Spartans stranded five runners on base through the first four innings.
Whitworth appeared to break the game open by scoring two more times in the fifth, in the midst of the rain delay, and one in the sixth to grab an 8-1 lead. Ryan Bird had an RBI single in the fifth and Nate Lamberty added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
But CWRU fought back. The Spartans got a run in the bottom of the seventh on a ground out with runners on second and third. Then they scored two in the eighth on RBI doubles by Alex Capetillo and Aaron Cain.
CWRU got within 8-5 in the bottom of the ninth when Capetillo added an RBI single. The Spartans had the bases loaded with only one out, but reliever Kelly Fitzpatrick got a strike out and fly out to end the game.
CWRU moves into the 3:15 game on Thursday against Trinity (Texas).
Condreay led Whitworth at the plate, going 3-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Hughes finished 2-5 and the home run was his fifth of the season.
Cain went 4-5 for the Spartans with an RBI and a run scored. Starting pitcher Jake Shields fell to 8-3 after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 2.1 innings.