Baseball battles UPS in doubleheader

Pirates have outscored Loggers 28-12 in three non-conference matchups

The Whitworth Pirates baseball team came away with a win and a tie over the weekend against the University of Puget Sound at Logger Diamond in Tacoma, Wash.

Whitworth poured on the runs in the first game as it hammered Puget Sound 14-2. The Pirates might have come away with a sweep of the Loggers, but the second game ended in a tie after 10 innings due to darkness.

The Bucs, who have won five of their last seven and are 6-3-1 overall, were led by sophomore Tyler Pfeffer who had four doubles and five of Whitworth’s 30 hits in Sunday’s two games. Pfeffer also drove in four runs while senior JR Jarrell and sophomore Gerhard Muelheims each had three RBIs.

“Beating two Northwest Conference teams in non-conference games is a confidence builder,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “But regardless of who we’re beating winning feels good and can be contagious.”

The Pirates have had hot bats this season as they have scored 10 or more runs in four of their last seven games. Whitworth, who played Puget Sound at the Swing into Spring Baseball Classic last weekend, has outscored the Loggers 28-12 this season.

“Our production of runs thus far can be attributed to out hitter's ability to execute in run-scoring situations," Ramsay said. "Our guys are not only talented but they have a knack for pushing runs across the plate in a number of different ways."

The Pirates played a doubleheader on Sunday as Saturday’s contests against Puget Sound and Concordia University were rained out because of wet playing conditions. Whitworth’s game against Concordia on Saturday was cancelled while the Puget Sound contest was made up on Sunday.

The morning game was a close contest until the Pirates broke it open in the eighth inning. With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth, the Bucs scored six runs to pull ahead and added six more in the top of the ninth to close out the game.

Freshman Spencer Ansett picked up the win after pitching eight strong innings, allowing four hits and one earned run while striking out four. Ansett is 3-0 on the year and is leading the team in strikeouts (17), innings pitched (23.1) and is second in ERA (2.31).

In the top of the third, senior third baseman Landon Scott scored on a balk by pitcher Matt Robinson after a leadoff walk.

After the Loggers scored two runs the Pirates added another run in the sixth inning as senior catcher Michael Takemura bunted sophomore designated hitter Justin Liu home to tie the game up at two.

The next three innings were dominated by Ansett as he didn't give up any runs or hits, giving the Pirate offense enough time to light up the scoreboard.

In the eighth inning Whitworth put six runs on the scoreboard. The team had five hits in the inning including a three RBI double by Pfeffer.

The top of the ninth was a lot like the eighth as a couple of singles and two doubles drove in six more runs, making the final score 14-2.

“When we have the fight and energy we had today during the games then we are going to be virtually unbeatable,” Pfeffer said. “Our pitchers go out and battle for every inning and our position players grind all day, every day at practice. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the season has to offer.”

In the second game, the Pirates scored early and then rallied in the ninth to tie the game. Pfeffer doubled home the first run of the game and freshman designated hitter Paul Miller singled in the second as the Pi- rates took a 2-0 lead out of the first inning.

The Loggers took the lead in the third scoring three runs on an RBI single and a two-run home run by third baseman Will Mentor. Puget Sound added four more runs in the fifth and sixth to make the score 7-2.

In the seventh, Scott singled and Pfeffer doubled to put runners in scoring position. Back-to-back groundouts by Jarrell and Miller scored Scott and Pfeffer, bringing the Pirates within three runs.

After failing to get a hit in the eighth, the Pirates staged a comeback in the ninth. Liu hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Pfeffer who had walked to lead off the inning. Three batters late Muelheims doubled down the left field line, scoring two and tying the game at seven. The game was called two innings later due to darkness.

The Bucs travel to Central Washington University on March 3 for a doubleheader against the Wildcats.

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber14@my.whitworth.edu.

Photographer: Greg Moser Photo caption: Senior outfielder Ryan Beecroft practices his bunting at practice last week.