SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth baseball team is scheduled to return to action this weekend with a series of games in California against members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. But a severe weather forecast for the entire region is threatening those games. The Pirates were originally scheduled to play three games at Pomona-Pitzer, one at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and one at Redlands.
Watch the Whitworth baseball schedule for updates to this weekend's schedule, as well as for live links to follow the games.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 2-1 following a rain-delayed, season-opening weekend in Wilsonville, Oregon. All three games were against Northwest Conference opponents, but none of those counted as conference games.
The Pirates dropped their season opener 7-2 to Puget Sound early on Saturday. The game was tied 2-2 into the sixth inning when the Loggers struck for two in the sixth and two in the seventh to pull away. Whitworth had eight hits, but had a tough time stringing them together and ended up leaving eight runners on base. Jordan McGowan went 2-3 with an RBI. Hugh Smith lost his first decision of the season after allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings.
The Pirates picked up their first win of the season later on Saturday, defeating Lewis & Clark 4-0. Liam Fitzpatrick had an RBI double in the first inning and Matthew Nelson added a two-run home run in the third. No Pirate player had more than one hit in the game, but six total hits were enough offense for Ryan Kingma and Darren Crosby. Kingma started and gave up only three hits and a walk in 5.0 innings to earn his first win. Crosby finished with four shutout innings and picked up his first save.
The offense finally came alive in Sunday's 15-4 win over Willamette. Jacob Yamane went 3-5 and drove in five runs, four of which came on a grand slam in the Pirates' seven-run seventh inning. Yamane also had an RBI triple. Daniel Casanova went 3-4 as the leadoff hitter and scored four runs with two RBIs. Nelson added three more RBIs and finished 2-5 with a triple. Matthew Young started on the mount and allowed two earned runs in 3.1 innings. Tim Bever picked up the win with 2.2 innings of relief.
LA Downpour Expected: The Los Angeles area is expected to be hit by a severe rainstorm on Friday and into Saturday. That has impacted Whitworth's schedule for the weekend. The three-game series with Pomona-Pitzer has been pushed back to Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday's game at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps has been scratched. The Monday game at Redlands is still expected to take place.
The Opponents: Pomona-Pitzer is 4-3 so far this season and all seven games have been against Northwest Conference foes. The Sagehens opened their season by taking two of three from Puget Sound, then they defeated Willamette in a single game. Last weekend PLU took two of three from Pomona-Pitzer. The Sagehens are hitting .331 as a team and have a 3.57 team ERA through seven games. Senior Tanner Nishioka is hitting .370 with four home runs and 12 RBIs already this season. Senior pitcher David Gerics is 1-0 with one save and a 1.20 ERA. He has 22 strikeouts in only 15 innings. Whitworth and Pomona-Pitzer played a pair of games in 2015 and split the doubleheader, but the Sagehens have won four of the seven meetings since 2012.
Redlands is 3-3 so far this season after finishing 2-2 at the Cactus Classic in Tucson, Arizona last weekend. Three of the games were against NWC opponents and the Bulldogs defeated George Fox before losing to both Linfield and Pacific (Ore.). Redlands finished 25-16 last season, 16-11 in the SCIAC. The Bulldogs are hitting .337 as a team so far in 2017 and have a 3.83 ERA. The Pirates have never played Redlands in baseball.
Makeup Plan: Whitworth should be able to make up all of the games lost at the NWC Oregon Classic. Since all four scheduled contests were against NWC opponents, the Pirates plan to play a fourth, non-conference game against Lewis & Clark, Pacific Lutheran, George Fox and Linfield at the conclusion of the regularly-scheduled three-game conference series throughout the season.
Plenty of Pitching: Whitworth has a talented and deep pitching roster in 2017. Hugh Smith (1st Team), T.J. Orchard (2nd Team) and Ryan Kingma (Honorable Mention) all received All-Northwest Conference accolades last season and all three return as starting pitchers. In addition, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Arory Milyard and JD Page all return as important arms out of the bullpen. These six players are a major reason Whitworth set a school record for team ERA (3.95) in 2016.
The Coach: Dan Ramsay has led the Bucs to the NCAA Division III tournament three times (2012, 2015, 2016) and was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016 and West Region Coach of the Year by D3baseball.com and the ABCA in 2012. Ramsay, now in his ninth season coaching Whitworth, earned his 150th career victory during the 2016 season. He is 159-164 overall.
In his eight years at Whitworth Ramsay has coached a First Team All-American and two Third Team All-Americans, 21 All-Northwest Conference selections, ten ABCA All-West Region selections, one Academic All-American and four Academic All-District selections, one conference batting champion, one West Region Gold Glove Award winner, one Rawlings Gold Glove National Award winner, and has had three players sign professional contracts.