SPOKANE, Wash. – Nicholas Nerud went 7-9 at the plate to lead Whitworth to a sweep of visiting Puget Sound in a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday at Merkel Field. The Pirate shortstop was 3-5 in a 10-2 win in the opener, then went 4-4 in a 9-6 victory in the second game.
Whitworth (16-11 overall, 13-4 NWC) continues to hold onto first place in the NWC baseball standings. The Pirates and Loggers (9-20, 8-9 NWC) will complete the series with a single game on Sunday.
Game 1 – Whitworth 10, Puget Sound 2
The Pirates jumped to a quick 6-0 lead and Austin Rice won his fourth straight start.
Whitworth scored five times in the first inning against UPS starting pitcher Davis Miller. Cody Simmons had the big blow with a three-run double. Joe Howell, making his first start of the season at DH, added an RBI single that drove in Simmons. The Pirates made it 6-0 in the second on Ben Wintringer's RBI single.
Jake Briscoe's infield single got Puget Sound on the board in the fifth inning when it scored Tyler Brazelton.
The Pirates answered with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the game out of reach. Howell and Casey Isa had back-to-back RBI doubles and Nerud followed with an RBI single.
Rice (4-1) allowed one run on six hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two batters. Mathew Pulliam tossed the final three frames and gave up one run on three hits.
Miller (2-2) went 4.1 innings and allowed nine runs on 11 hits. Robert Weaver, Owen Shellhammer and Nick Ultsch combined to throw the final 3.2 innings for UPS.
Liam Fitzpatrick joined Nerud with three hits in the game for the Bucs. Simmons led the team with three RBIs, while Howell and Isa had two RBIs apiece.
Game 2 – Whitworth 9, Puget Sound 6
Nerud drove in three runs and Taylor Poffenroth drilled his second home run of the season to give the Pirates a doubleheader sweep.
Nerud led off the first with a hit and scored on Wintringer's ground out. The Pirates added two runs in the second on Nerud's single and a throwing error in right field.
The Loggers tied the game with three runs in the fourth inning. Brazelton had a two-run double and Makoa Mau followed with an RBI single.
The Pirates responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on RBI doubles by Isa and Nerud. Whitworth added an unearned run in the fifth and Poffenroth's two-run homer to left capped a three-run sixth that extended the lead to 9-3.
Kyle Strash gave UPS a two-run double in the seventh and the Loggers got within 9-6 in the eighth before Whitworth closed the door.
Tyler Huling (0-3) took the loss for the Loggers after allowing six runs (four earned) on 10 hits in four innings. Joe Brennan threw the final four innings for UPS.
Nerud finished 4-4 with three RBIs and two runs. Poffenroth went 4-5 with two RBIs and two runs. Tyler Bailey had three hits in the game.