TACOMA, Wash. – Whitworth and Whitman split a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday in the conference opening games for the Pirates. Whitworth took the opener 7-4 before the Blues rolled 15-5 in the nightcap. The games were played at the University of Puget Sound after heavy snows in Eastern Washington forced the series to relocate west.
Whitworth is 4-8 overall, 1-1 in the NWC, while Whitman is 6-7, 3-2. The teams will complete the series with a single game at UPS on Sunday.
Game 1 – Whitworth 7, Whitman 4
Taylor Poffenroth drilled the Pirates' first home run of the season and Brett Thomas tossed four shutout innings in relief to get the Bucs a win in their conference opener.
Whitworth opened the scoring with three runs in the top of the third. Spencer Locati doubled with one out and moved to third on Casey Isa's infield single. Nicholas Nerud singled in Locati and Isa scored on a balk by Whitman starting pitcher Travis Craven. Poffenroth drove in the final run of the rally with a single to center.
The Pirates added three more in the sixth. The first two scored on Poffenroth's home run to left center field. Cody Simmons added an RBI single later in the inning.
Whitman got back into the game with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, finally getting to starting pitcher Matthew Young. Kyle Reisman's two-run single capped the five-hit rally.
Thomas came on in the bottom of the sixth and shut out the Blues on three hits. Whitman loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with two singles and a walk. But Thomas induced All-NWC shortstop Lucus Thrun to pop out to end the game.
Ben Wintringer's RBI single in the sixth capped the scoring.
Poffenroth finished 2-5 with three RBIs. Nerud and Locati also had a pair of hits for the Pirates.
Young improved to 2-2 with five innings of work. He allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Thomas picked up his first save of the season.
Craven fell to 1-1 after giving up six runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Game 2 – Whitman 15, Whitworth 5
The Blues broke open the game by batting around twice, once in the second inning and once in the in the fourth.
Matthew Sox went 3-4 with three RBIs and drove in three runs to lead the Blues. He hit Whitman's first home run of the season in the fourth. Reisman also went 3-4 with three RBIs, while Jerrick Nomura went 2-4 and drove in three.
Whitman scored nine runs in the second inning after Whitworth starting pitcher Austin Rice had to leave the game with an injury in the bottom of the first. Normura had a two-run single in the rally.
The Blues added six more runs in the fourth, which was started by Sox's home run.
Starting pitcher Eric Ma improved to 2-0 this season for Whitman after giving up two runs on six hits in six innings. Jake Larson tossed the final four innings and allowed three runs on five hits.
Darren Crosby was credited with the loss after he allowed six runs (five earned) in a third of an inning as the first reliever to follow Rice. Taylor Roelofs, Connor Sand, Timothy Bever and Jake Briones all saw time on the mound in relief. Bever threw four innings and allowed only one run.