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Lewis-Clark state baseball team scrapes by Mountaineers

Mar. 23—Crucial late-game hits and high-quality pitching gave the No. 7 Lewis-Clark State baseball team the lift it needed to sweep Cascade Conference foes Eastern Oregon by scores of 6-3 and 4-3 Friday at Harris Field in Lewiston.

The pair of wins weren't perfect for LCSC (15-7, 5-1 Cascade Conference). Runners left on base is still an issue and a couple of close calls almost gave Eastern Oregon (9-19, 0-6) a win in the twinbill.

But the Warriors got key contributions from top to bottom in its lineup and the pitching staff put together its best two-game stretch of the season.

"It's no surprise — we're not playing our best," LCSC coach Jake Taylor said. "But today we found a way to win two games. Both (starting pitchers) gave us a chance and we did just enough offensively to come out on top. Nothing spectacular by any stretch of the imagination."

Here's how Friday's two-game night played out:

Drake George puts together career night

Junior right-hander Drake George has been the most consistent arm for the Warriors this season. He's been quietly piecing together his best season ever, and a career night kept that train chugging.

In six innings pitched, George struck out 10 batters — a career high for the Riddle, Ore., native.

He gave up two earned runs on six hits and his performance on the hill gave him his fourth win of the season, improving his mark to 4-0 in six appearances.

George's outing also kept the Mountaineers at bay to set his team up for a game-clinching situation.

The LCSC defense also went to work: catches against the center field wall, lay out grabs and cross-diamond throws were some of the highlights. Senior center fielder Carter Booth made a catch against the wall in the top of the fifth to save a potential multi-base hit, which George made sure to give him credit for.

"I started with the fastball and (Eastern Oregon) started to hit it quite a bit," George said. "I had to basically just throw off speeds. They didn't like off speed at all ... off speed was a big thing for getting strikeouts. And my defense behind me making plays."

EOU failed to break the seal and left nine on base for the game. The Mountaineers' failure to bring runners home led to a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth. This was where senior outfielder Nick Seamons and junior designated hitter Charlie Updegrave cranked back-to-back home runs totalling three RBI to put LCSC back up 5-2.

Senior second baseman Pu'ukani De Sa capped off the Warriors' scoring with an RBI single that brought in junior outfielder Brandon Cabrerea.

EOU was able to put up another run in the top of the eighth with a sacrifice fly by Trevor Baker. That was its last run of the game.

Gish RBI secures the two-game sweep

LCSC started hot in the nightcap. Seamons' hit registered his third RBI of the day and scored Booth with a double and senior third baseman Dominic Signorelli blasted his 10th home run of the season — a two-run shot to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

"(I've) just had a little more confidence this year coming into it," Signorelli said. "I put on a little bit more weight, too, got a little stronger. So that's definitely helping."

But an offensive drought after the first inning nearly sunk LCSC.

In front of a crowd that was surprisingly plentiful given the change in schedule for the games this weekend, the Warriors went scoreless from the second through the sixth innings.

Over that span, the Mountaineers tied the game with two runs in the top of the third and another in the top of the fifth.

Senior infielder Jake Gish brought in Booth for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh, breaking LCSC's drought. The run also ended up being the final score of the contest.

LCSC has struggled in games decided by three runs or less (4-4 going into Friday). Getting a sweep in a close doubleheader is a positive for the Warriors, but it's still not where they want to be. Across the two games, 15 runners were stranded on the basepaths. LCSC left the bases loaded twice in Game 2.

"It's nice to get a sweep on the day," Signorelli said. "But it's obviously not where we want to be production-wise, score-wise. But being able to finish games is still a good feeling."

Notes

Despite the continued trend of potential scores being left stranded, it was also probably the best game top-to-bottom for the entirety of the Warriors' lineup.

Junior catcher Jakob Marquez knocked in his first two hits of the season in Game 2, and 10-of-11 LCSC batters who stepped in the box recorded a hit.

"I think the more we play the more we'll find out about ourselves," Taylor said. "And for us to win anything substantial, we have to (be solid) one-through-nine. A couple guys coming off the bench we'll need to grind out at-bats. And that's where we've struggled so far. We've had gaps in our lineup, a good at-bat or two, guys sticking with an approach and then we've had gaps. And you can't put together runs that way."

GAME 1

EASTERN OREGON LEWIS-CLARK STATE

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Cumberland cf 5 1 3 0 Booth cf 4 1 1 0

Nett lf 4 0 0 1 Seamons lf 3 1 1 2

Freitas 2b 5 1 1 0 Updegrave dh 4 1 1 1

Landeros dh 4 0 2 0 Gish 1b 3 0 0 0

Baker 1b 4 0 0 0 Signorelli 3b 4 1 1 0

Whiles rf 3 0 2 1 Cabrera rf 4 2 2 0

Balkenbush c 2 0 0 0 De Sa 2b 3 0 1 1

Olague ph 1 0 0 0 Sheward c 4 0 2 1

Burns 3b 4 0 2 0 Sol pr 0 0 0 0

Choi ss 3 1 1 0 Rivera ss 3 0 0 0

Hoose ph 1 0 0 0

Totals 36 3 11 2 Totals 32 6 9 5

Eastern Oregon 002 000 010—3 11 2

Lewis-Clark State 020 040 00x—6 9 1

Eastern Oregon ip h r er bb so

Cordes (L, 1-5) 8 9 6 6 3 8

Lewis-Clark State ip h r er bb so

George (W, 4-0) 6 6 2 2 0 10

Lucas 2.1 5 1 0 0 5

Smith (S, 2) 0.2 0 0 0 0 0

------

GAME 2

EASTERN OREGON LEWIS-CLARK STATE

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Cumberland cf 3 1 0 0 Booth cf 3 2 1 0

Nett lf 4 0 2 2 Seamons lf 5 1 1 1

Freitas 2b 3 0 0 1 Updegrave dh 4 0 1 0

Landeros dh 2 0 0 0 Gish 1b 2 0 1 1

Taddy pr 0 0 0 0 Signorelli 3b 4 1 1 2

Baker 1b 3 0 0 0 Cabrera rf 4 0 0 0

Whiles rf 4 0 0 0 De Sa 2b 3 0 0 0

Carlson c 3 0 1 0 Marquez c 3 0 2 0

Lasich pr 0 0 0 0 Sol pr 0 0 0 0

Burns 3b 4 0 0 0 Hofstetter ss 3 0 1 0

Choi ss 3 2 2 0

Totals 29 3 5 3 Totals 31 4 8 4

Eastern Oregon 002 010 000—3 5 0

Lewis-Clark State 300 000 10x—4 8 1

Eastern Oregon ip h r er bb so

Seslar 6 4 3 3 5 9

Farnsworth (L, 0-2) 2 4 1 1 1 1

Lewis-Clark State ip h r er bb so

Shane Spencer 5.2 5 3 3 1 5

Jace Hanson (W, 2-2) 2.1 0 0 0 1 2

Ediger (S, 2) 1 0 0 0 1 1

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, tkowatsch@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.