by Mak Karge, Assistant SID
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Northwest Conference baseball series between Whitworth and Pacific will move to Forest Grove, Oregon instead of Whitworth due to unplayable field conditions at Merkel Field in Spokane, Washington. The teams will play the games as scheduled, with a doubleheader on Saturday and a game on Sunday, just at Pacific. Whitworth will remain as the home team.
Watch the Pirates' baseball schedule for live links to this weekend's games.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 4-9 overall, 1-2 in the NWC after last weekend's against series against Whitman. The Pirates made a strong showing in the first game, winning 7-4, but dropped games two and three, 15-5 and 6-4, respectively.
Whitworth also has had strong hitting contributions through the first 13 games. Nicholas Nerud leads the Pirates in batting average .365, with 11 runs and 13 RBIs. Nerud has only struck out three times in 63 at bats. Freshman Jaxsen Swenum is hitting .311 and put one over the wall last weekend for his first collegiate home run. Whitworth has five batters hitting between .296 and .300, all making significant contributions.
Defensively the Pirates have committed 12 errors with a fielding percentage of .974, besting their opponents (.953).
The Opponents: Pacific has started the season 12-3 following last season's 16-24 performance. Pacific swept Linfield at home last weekend (3-1, 6-5, 7-1).
Jordan Hara leads Pacific by batting .476 with a .500 OBP. Starting pitcher Casey Brown has led the Tigers, pitching 39.1 innings with a 1.83 ERA.
Pacific and Whitworth split four 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.