SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth baseball returns home to host Lewis & Clark College in a four-game series at Merkel Field this weekend. Only the first three games will be Northwest Conference counters. Both day's doubleheaders will start at Noon.
Watch the Whitworth baseball schedule for live links to follow the games.
The Pirates: Whitworth took two of three games at Puget Sound last weekend. The Pirates are now 14-10 overall and 6-9 (6th place) in the NWC. The team is batting .258 and has a 4.33 ERA.
Whitworth won the opener at Puget Sound 9-7 in 11 innings after rallying for a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to force extra frames. Jacob Silva's two out single in the ninth plated the game-tying run. Garrett Hughes led off the 11th inning with a solo home run and Matthew Nelson added an RBI double later in the inning. Kelly Fitzpatrick pitched three innings of one-hit relief to earn his first win of the season. Darren Crosby also tossed three frames of shutout relief.
The Pirates were limited to only four hits in a 4-1 loss in the second game on Saturday. Matthew Nelson's solo home run was the only scoring of the game for the Bucs and he had two of the team's four hits. Ryan Kingma allowed only three runs on five hits in 5.2 innings, but still fell to 3-2 on the season.
The series finale was postponed from Sunday into Monday because of rain. Whitworth broke open a close game by scoring four runs in the top of the seventh inning and went on to win 6-2. Daniel Casanova and Jacob Silva each drove in a pair of runs, while Nate Lamberty went 4-4 and scored a run. Matthew Young threw seven strong innings, allowing two runs on only four hits with six strikeouts to improve to 3-2. JD Page and Kelly Fitzpatrick threw the final two frames with Fitzpatrick picking up his third save of the year.
The Opponents: Lewis & Clark College is currently 5-20 overall and 4-11 in the NWC. But the Pioneers will play a single game at Whitman College on Thursday afternoon before getting to Spokane. L&C is hitting .252 as a team while posting a team ERA of 6.07. Senior IF Tommy Massari leads the team on offense with a .306 batting average with two home runs, two doubles and 13 RBIs. Sophomore RHP Robert Reaser is 2-3 with a 4.39 ERA and 44 strikeouts this season. Whitworth earned a three-game sweep over L&C in 2016 and the Pirates have won the last nine games against the Pioneers, dating to the 2014 season.
Makeup Plan: Whitworth should be able to make up most of the games lost at the NWC Oregon Classic that was rained out the first weekend in February. 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.
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.