SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University baseball team will finally get to play at home this weekend when the Pirates host George Fox University in a three-game Northwest Conference series at Merkel Field.
The teams will play at doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 11:00 am. They will play a single game on Sunday at noon. Watch the Whitworth baseball schedule for live links to this weekend's action.
Home at Last: After playing their first 14 games away from home and having a Northwest Conference series vs. Whitman postponed by significant snowfall, Whitworth will finally get to play its first home games of the 2018 season this weekend.
The Pirates: Whitworth took two of three games at Willamette last weekend. The Pirates won the opener 7-3 on Saturday as Hugh Smith tossed six shutout innings to earn his second victory of the season. Tyler Bailey and Taylor Poffenroth had three hits apiece for the Whitworth offense.
The Pirates lost the second game 4-3 in ten innings. The contest was suspended after nine innings because of darkness. Bailey sent the game into extras with his RBI single in the top of the ninth. Poffenroth homered in the contest for the Pirates. T.J. Orchard threw 5.2 innings of solid relief, allowing the Bucs to rally from a 3-1 deficit.
The Whitworth bats came alive in a 10-4 victory over Willamette in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. Spencer Locati homered and drove in four runs to lead the offensive attack. Bailey had two more hits and scored twice. Matthew Young pitched seven innings and allowed only two runs while scattering eight hits to improve to 2-2.
Bailey batted .500 and scored six runs over the weekend to lead the Whitworth bats.
The Pirate pitching staff now leads the conference in opponent batting average (.242) and the Bucs rank second in team ERA (3.85).
The Opponents: George Fox comes into the weekend 14-3 overall and 8-1 in the NWC. The Bruins are in first place in the NWC standings after sweeping Pacific University at home last weekend. GFU, under 10th-year head coach Marty Hunter, is the hottest-hitting team in the NWC. The Bruins lead the league in team batting average (.333), runs scored (144) and in extra base hits (50). Sophomore 1B Sam Swenson is hitting .414 and he leads the NWC in RBIs (24) and doubles (10). Senior RHP Alex Jondal is 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA. He has 31 strikeouts in 31 innings. Last season Whitworth began its rebound from an 0-5 start in conference play with a sweep at George Fox. Smith, Ryan Kingma and Young all earned pitching victories for the Bucs.
The Coach: CJ Perry is in his first year as the Pirates' head coach. He spent several years as an assistant on the staff. Perry is a former Whitworth player who graduated in 2012 as an honorable mention All-Northwest Conference honoree. He received his CSCS certification through the NSCA in 2015.
Coming up: Whitworth will return to the road for a Northwest Conference series at Puget Sound on March 16-17.