COLLEGE: WNC sweeps again, leads SLCC by 3

Western Nevada College finds itself in an enviable position heading into the last two weeks of the Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball season.

After Saturday's doubleheader sweep of in-state rival College of Southern Nevada, 5-3 and 5-1, the Wildcats find themselves with a three-game lead with eight to play over Salt Lake Community College, which was swept by College of Southern Idaho.

The sweep boosted WNC's record to 29-3. WNC hosts CSI next Friday and Saturday.

Dating back to last year's four-game sweep in April, the Wildcats have taken 12 straight from the Coyotes, including eight straight this season.

"It should be nice, but honestly I'm just worried about the next game," WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said. "I was happy with the work of our pitching staff. It was the best weekend of the year. One through seven we controlled the baseball. We made them swing the bat."

The doubleheader started on an ominous note, as errors by Tanner Nielsen and Jon Sigado allowed CSN to score three unearned runs on three hits against Andrew Woeck, who gave up five in the first inning last week to Eastern Utah. Woeck may have been going through a deja vu experience in his head.

"We had some problems with our defense early in the season, but we figured it out and had been playing well lately," Woeck said. "They were looking fastball early on, and I started to mix it up and get ahead in the count throwing off speed pitches."

WNC tied the game in the third thanks to a sacrifice fly by Sean Potkay and a two-run single by Beau Day. WNC took a 4-3 lead in the fourth after two were out when Nielsen reached on an infield single and eventually scored on Chris Woolley's single to left.

WNC increased its lead to 5-3 in the sixth when Nielsen doubled home pinch-runner Donald Glover.

After the first inning, Woeck become unhittable. He retired the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings before allowing a leadoff double in the fifth. In one stretch he retired 17 of 19 batters before being lifted with one out in the seventh after reaching 120 pitches.

"Either way I was coming out," Woeck said. "Garry (Chris Garrison) has done well and always comes up clutch."

Garrison managed to close out the game, but not before some tense moments. Garrison uncorked a wild pitch and Dalton Gust, despite the fact his team trailed by two runs, tried to score, Day recovered and flipped to Garrison, who tagged out Gust for the second out. The CSN head coach came out to argue with plate umpire David Wood, but to no avail. Garrison got the last out on an infield roller to short.

"I thought I got him," Garrison said. "I tried to be like a catcher and block the plate. It was a curveball that just took a bad bounce, Beau made a real good toss. I didn't think he was going to try to score (given the score at the time), but he hesitated and then took off and that's when I took off."

Whittemore praised Woeck's effort.

"He really wanted the ball this weekend," Whittemore said. "He was disappointed with his outing last week. He made a lot of great pitches today. He did a good job later in the game of getting ahead with his breaking ball."

In the second game, CSN took an early 1-0 lead on the Wildcats and Tim Peterson. The latter started despite the fact he threw 1.1 innings in relief on Friday.

WNC answered with a run in the second and one in the third for a 2-1 lead. Brooks Klein doubled in the first run and the second scored when Connor Eppard hit into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs.

Peterson got an out in the third before being lifted in favor of Tyler Spencer, who got the last two outs of the inning. Spencer got two outs in the fourth before being relieved by Brandon Jackson, who worked the final 3.1 to earn the save.

Whittemore praised Peterson's grit for taking the ball despite pitching in a tough situation on Friday. He also was pleased with Jackson's one-hit effort.

WNC put the game away in the fifth by scoring three runs, two coming on Potkay's double in the right-centerfield gap. The other run came when Eppard hit into his second double play of the game.

Potkay was 2-for-12 in the series before delivering the big blow. Throughout the four-game set, he appeared to be out in front of nearly everything. Whittemore gave credit to CSN's pitching, but Potkay said it was all on him.

"It was nice (to get the double)," Potkay said. "It gave us a little (breathing) room. My swing just wasn't on. It wasn't anything they were doing or how they were pitching me."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment