SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth baseball team returns to the field this weekend to host the Swing into Spring Classic. And though the games will not be held at the friendly confines of Merkel Field, the Pirates will be playing much closer to home than they did last week.
The five-team tournament will take place at Gesa Stadium in Pasco, Washington from February 15 through Feb. 19.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 1-2-1 so far this season after four games in Southern California. The Pirates went 1-1-1 at California Lutheran, losing the opener 5-4, winning the second game 13-8 then tying the finale 7-7 after the game was called due to darkness after nine innings.
Last Sunday morning the Pirates were beaten 5-0 at Pomona-Pitzer.
Looking back at 2012: Whitworth went 31-16-1 overall, winning the NCAA Division III west region tournament in McMinnville, Oregon and advancing to the NCAA Division III finals in Appleton, Wisconsin where the Pirates finished in fifth place. Whitworth shared the Northwest Conference title with a 19-5 record and earned the league's automatic bid to the post-season by virtue of head-to-head results against Pacific. It was the Pirates' first league title since 1991 and first post-season appearance since 1992.
High Expectations: The success of 2012 has led to high expectations in 2013. The Pirates topped the 2013 NWC preseason coaches' poll with six out of nine possible first place votes. Whitworth is also ranked 5th in the D3baseball.com preseason top-25 poll and ranked 8th in the Collegiate Baseball News preseason top-25 poll.
Everybody's All-American: Tyler Pfeffer was named a First Team All-American by D3baseball.com as a sophomore in 2012, and a Second Team All-American by the ABCA. He is off to a strong start in 2013, hitting .471 through four games with nine RBIs a home run and a double.
Swing into Spring Classic: Whitworth will be joined by NAIA-member Corban University and fellow NWC-members Lewis & Clark, Puget Sound and Willamette this weekend.
The tournament schedule:
Friday, February 15
Game 1: Puget Sound vs. Corban - 10:00 am
Game 2: Lewis & Clark vs. Corban - 1:00 pm
Game 3: Whitworth vs. Lewis & Clark - 4:00 pm
Saturday, February 16
Game 4: Puget Sound vs. Lewis & Clark - 10:00 am
Game 5: Corban vs. Puget Sound - 1:00 pm
Game 6: Whitworth vs. Willamette - 4:00pm
Sunday, February 17
Game 7: Lewis & Clark vs. Willamette - 10:00am
Game 8: Whitworth vs. Puget Sound - 1:00pm
Game 9: Whitworth vs. Corban - 4:00pm
Monday, February 18
Game 10: Corban vs. Willamette - 11:00am
Gesa Stadium: Gesa Stadium is located in Pasco, Washington and is home to the Tri Cities Dust Devils of the Northwest League (short season A). The address is 6200 Burden Blvd in Pasco, WA 99301. Click here for a map and directions.
Coming Up: Whitworth will be off until March 2nd when the Pirates take on Univ. of Texas-Tyler and Austin College in Tyler, Texas.