by Mak Karge, Assistant SID
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Northwest Conference baseball series between Whitworth and Whitman will shift west to Tacoma, Washington due to unplayable field conditions in Walla Walla, Washington. The teams will play the games as scheduled, with a doubleheader on Saturday and a game on Sunday, just in the neutral location.
Watch the Pirates' baseball schedule for live links to this weekend's games.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 3-7 after opening the season with three long road trips. Last weekend, the Pirates dropped four games in Los Angeles, including a walk-off victory by Occidental to close the doubleheader on Saturday.
Through the first ten games, Matthew Young has led Whitworth pitchers with 18.1 innings in three appearances with a 2.95 ERA. Ryan Kingma also has three starts for 18 innings with a 0.50 ERA, allowing just one earned run.
Whitworth also has had strong hitting contributions through the first ten games. Nicholas Nerud leads the Pirates in batting average .354 with eight runs and eight RBIs. Nerud has only struck out twice in 48 at bats. Freshmen Jaxsen Swenum is hitting .340 with a team-leading four doubles. Tyler Bailey is hitting .308 and has the only Pirate triple.
Defensively the Pirates have committed ten errors with a fielding percentage of .972, besting their opponents (.950).
The Opponents: Whitman has started the season 5-6 following last season's 18-20 performance. Last weekend at Linfield College, Whitman took two of the three (12-6, 8-6, 1-12).
Lucas Thrun leads Whitman by batting .372 with a .473 OBP. Starting pitchers Travis Craven and Eric Ma have led the Blues both with one win sporting 4.00 and 4.67 ERAs, respectively.
Whitman swept Whitworth in all three meetings in 2018.
The Coach: CJ Perry is in his second season as head coach of the Pirates, after serving five seasons as an assistant coach. He had two players taken in the major league draft in 2018, pitcher Hugh Smith in the sixth round by the Detroit Tigers and shortstop Joel Condreay selected in the 31st round by the Colorado Rockies. As pitching coach in 2016, Perry's staff led all of NCAA Div. III in walks allowed per nine innings (2.07) and posted a team ERA of 3.95.