TACOMA, Wash. – Visiting Whitworth rallied with two runs each in the ninth and 11th innings to win the Northwest Conference baseball series opener at Puget Sound on Saturday afternoon, but the Pirates were limited to a single run during a loss in the second game. The opener finished 9-7 in favor of the Bucs, while the nightcap went 4-1 in favor of the Logger.
Whitworth is now 13-10 overall and 5-9 in the NWC, while Puget Sound is 9-11, 5-6. The teams will complete the three-game series with a single contest on Sunday at noon.
Game 1 – Whitworth 9, Puget Sound 7
The Pirates got two runs in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, then got two more in the 11th to complete the comeback victory over the Loggers.
Whitworth scratched out single runs in each of the first two innings to grab an early lead. The first run was unearned when Daniel Casanova led off the game by reaching on an error and then scored on an error at second base.
But it was Puget Sound's turn to take advantage of a pair of Pirate errors in the bottom of the second, which helped lead to a four-run rally. Whitworth tied the game in the top of the fourth. After loading the bases with one out, each of the Pirates moved up one bag on a balk. With the bases again loaded Casanova was able to beat out a double play attempt. His fielder's choice allowed Ryan Bird to score from third to tie the game.
The Pirates took a brief lead with an unearned run in the top of the fifth. Then Puget Sound put together another big inning in the fifth, scoring three runs. The first came on a James DeJesus solo homer leading off the inning. The Ricardo Barraza added a two run single later in the frame.
Still trailing 7-5 heading to the ninth, Whitworth scratched out a pair of runs to tie the game. Garrett Hughes singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on Jordan McGowan's single with one out. Hughes then scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Matthew Nelson. Connor Johnson, running for McGowan, stole second and scored on Jacob Silva's single to centerfield.
Hughes led off the 11th inning with a solo home run, providing the game-winning RBI. Nelson added an insurance run on his RBI double one out later.
Kelly Fitzpatrick (1-2) pitched three shutout innings from the ninth through the 11th to earn the win in relief. He allowed only one hit and struck out four batters, including DeJesus to finish off a perfect 11th. Hugh Smith started on the mound and allowed seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings. Darren Crosby threw three scoreless innings between Smith and Fitzpatrick.
Puget Sound used six pitchers in relief of starter Mau Makoa. Kian Kurokaw, the sixth of the seven Logger hurlers, took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings.
Game 2 – Puget Sound 4, Whitworth 1
Logger starting pitcher Merle Rowan-Kennedy allowed only four hits over 8.1 innings to keep the Pirates at bay in the second game of the doubleheader.
Whitworth scored its only run in the top of the second inning on Nelson's eighth home run of the season. Puget Sound did not get on the board until the bottom of the fifth when Matt Shelhammer hit a solo home run.
The Loggers scored the eventual winning runs in the sixth on Mason Quinlan's two-run homer to left. Ian Hughes added a sacrifice fly for UPS in the bottom of the eighth.
Rowan-Kennedy (3-2) struck out five and walked four. Eric Crispell tossed the final two-thirds of an inning for the Loggers and picked up his first save by getting the final out with the game-tying run at the plate.