Whitworth earns sweep of Willamette

The Whitworth baseball team kept its playoff hopes alive with a three-game sweep of Willamette University in Salem, Ore., last weekend.

Freshman pitcher Dan Scheibe pitched nine innings and struck out 13 batters in game one of Whitworth’s three game contest against Willamette at Merkel Field last weekend to help the Bucs grab an 8-1 victory in the front end of Saturday’s doubleheader before they secured a 7-6 win in the tenth inning of the nightcap. The action continued Sunday as the Bucs completed the three-game series and improved their record to 16-5 in Northwest Conference action, still close behind first place Pacific University.

“What really stood out this weekend was our guys’ ability to pick one another up,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “If one guy failed the next guy behind him seemed to come through with a big hit or shut down inning out of the bullpen.”

Whitworth took the lead early when senior center fielder Kevin Valerio scored right fielder Erik Nikssarian with a squeeze bunt and freshman catcher Joshua Davis scored off of freshman shortstop Nick Motsinger’s RBI single in the second inning. In the third, senior first baseman JR Jarrell scored sophomore second baseman Gerhard Muelheims with an RBI single and freshman left fielder Tyler Pfeffer’s league-leading 11th homerun of the season boosted the Pirates to a 5-1 lead in the fifth.

“Tyler has also been playing lights out,” Ramsay said. “If he can finish what he’s started he should be a candidate for NWC Player of the Year.”

The final three runs came in the seventh when senior third baseman Landon Scott scored off Motsinger’s RBI double to center field, Nikssarian’s RBI single scored Miller and Valerio’s RBI double brought Nikssarian home.

After rolling past the Bearcats in game one, Whitworth trailed 1-0 until the sixth inning in game two. Davis hit a two-run single that gave the Pirates the lead, but Willamette answered in the seventh with another run.

“They really struggled against Scheibe in game one [but] did a good job of battling against our pitchers in game two,” Ramsay said.

Whitworth scored three runs in the eighth inning sparked by Nikssarian’s single that brought home Pfeffer, who had singled to shortstop. Jarrell and Nikssarian scored when, with the bases loaded, Scott and Valerio were hit by pitches.

The Bearcats tied it up in the bottom of the ninth to force an extra inning, but Whitworth scored two runs in the tenth when Muelheim’s RBI single brought Davis home and Pfeffer’s RBI single scored senior center fielder Ryan Beecroft.

illamette scored one run in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn’t enough to steal the Bucs’ lead.

On Sunday, Whitworth drove in eight runs in the second inning to grab a significant early lead against the visiting Bearcats en route to a 10-6 win.

“When each guy trusts and has confidence that his teammates are going to come through, he plays with more confidence and it eases the pressure,” Ramsay said.

Willamette fought for six runs, but the Pirates secured the win with an extra two runs in the eighth inning when Davis walked, Valerio singled, and Pfeffer drove them home with a double up the left side.

Whitworth will host its final conference games with a three-game series against Whitman on April 28 and 29. The Pirates currently sit one game back of conference-leader Pacific.  Each team has three games remaining; however, the Boxers hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Bucs.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

File Photo by Chrissy Roach

 

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Baseball takes on Pacific for NWC lead

In a Northwest Conference baseball show down last weekend, second place Whitworth met conference leader Pacific on Merkel Field in a best out-of-three game series that went to the wire. The Pirates were topped 6-2 by the Boxers in the opening game Saturday, but took control in the nightcap, gaining a 7-1 victory that boosted them to 3-1 win on Sunday.

“We haven’t been in the situation to win the conference in a very long time,” senior catcher Michael Takemura said. “We started a little slow but I think the confidence came when the series got going.”

After sophomore second baseman Gerhard Muelheims doubled in the first inning, senior third baseman Landon Scott drove him home on a single that put the first run on the board for either team.

“We thought we’d be able to keep adding on after that first run,” Muelheims said. “[But] their pitcher was throwing really well [and] we had a tough time seeing the ball.”

But Pacific answered with a flurry of runs over the next three innings, scoring six runs, while Whitworth struggled to connect at the plate.

Freshman shortstop Nick Motsinger got the offense rolling with a single to third base in the sixth inning, and Whitworth scored its second run off sophomore left fielder Tyler Pfeffer’s sacrifice fly to right field.

“I thought the first game we were a little tight [but] the second game we played pretty loose,” Takemura said. “These games didn’t mean anything unless we won them out.”

After freshman pitcher Carson Blumenthal tossed the first four innings, freshman pitcher Nick Scourey stepped on the mound and shut out Pacific in five innings of relief. But the Pirates were unable to close in on the Boxers’ lead, and with the loss surrendered the top spot in the conference to Pacific for now; final conference standings have not been determined.

“Everyone was disappointed we lost,” Muelheims said. “But we’ve lost the first game of a series before and ended up winning the next two games.”

Whitworth grabbed an early 2-0 lead in game two after Motsinger walked and Pfeffer singled up the middle to score Motsinger in the first inning. Miller singled to right field in the second inning, advanced to second base on a balk, then to third when senior center fielder Kevin Valerio grounded out to second base, and scored on freshman right fielder Erik Nikssarian’s single to left field.

“I think this whole year we’ve done a great job coming back from losses,” Takemura said. “We wanted to punch back.”

Pfeffer’s three-run homer in the third and Nikssarian’s homerun in the fourth boasted a 6-0 lead for the Bucs. Senior first baseman JR Jarrell’s RBI single brought Pfeffer home again in the fifth inning to score Whitworth’s final run.

Freshman pitcher Dan Scheibe pitched a full game, striking out 12 batters with no walks. In his past two pitching performances  for the Bucs he has struck out 25 batter without a walk, and his presence on the mound Saturday secured the win for the Pirates, as Pacific scored just one run off six hits.

“The second game Dan threw great,” Takemura said. “He gave us a lot of confidence by shutting them down.”

It took until the fourth inning for either team to earn a run on Sunday, but after Scott singled to center field, he scored off Valerio’s sacrifice fly. Jarrell got on base with a single up the middle, and then scored thanks to Nikssarian’s RBI single through the left side.

“I think it was pretty key that we got on the board first,” Muelheims said. “Scoring those two runs was big especially because it was right after an inning where they had the bases loaded and we struck their guy out.”

Whitworth’s final run came in the fifth when Takemura was hit by a pitch, advanced to second when Motsinger grounded out to the catcher, and scored off Muelheims RBI single to center field.

Pacific also scored in the fifth, plating their lone run of the game. But the Boxers had several opportunities to take the lead, leaving 13 runners on base by game’s end.

“In the dugout the players knew we were going to win,” Takemura said. “But we gave [Pacific] too many shots.”

Spencer Ansett pitched the first six innings, allowing one run off seven hits. Jason Renner finished the game, grabbing his sixth save of the season.

“We used a lot of the momentum we had from the second game [on Saturday],” Muelheims said. “Holding those guys to one run took away some of their confidence.”

Whitworth improved its record to 13-5 in NWC action, just one game behind Pacific in conference standings, and will face Willamette University in Salem, Ore., April 21 and 22.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Photography by Chrissy Roach

 

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Bucs stay in conference title contention with weekend sweep of pioneers

After NAIA powerhouse Lewis-Clark State edged past the Whitworth baseball team 9-8 in extra innings last Tuesday, the Bucs rolled past Lewis & Clark College in a three-game sweep Friday and Saturday. Whitworth improved its record to 17-10-1 overall and 11-4 in Northwest Conference action, and now sit just two games behind first place Pacific University. Despite taking an 8-5 lead in a late rally on Tuesday night, the Bucs fell 9-8 to host Lewis-Clark State in the 13th inning.

“We were proud of how our guys battled and played last Tuesday,” said head coach Dan Ramsay. “Tough games like that help develop our team’s character and bring us closer together.”

Whitworth trailed 3-0 after six innings but took the lead with a five-run rally in the seventh. Senior third baseman Landon Scott was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in the first run, followed by an RBI single to left field from freshman designated hitter Paul Miller, an RBI ground out by senior first baseman JR Jarrell, and a two-run single from freshman catcher Josh Davis.

The Warriors answered with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game 5-5, but the Bucs took advantage of three Lewis-Clark errors in the eighth and scored another three runs. Lewis-Clark sent the game into extra innings and took the win when, with bases loaded, senior pitcher Nick Combo walked the Warrior batter on a 3-2 count to force in the winning run for Lewis-Clark.

“We battled them tough to come back and make a good game of it,” freshman pitcher Dan Scheibe said. “The intensity of our extra innings battle with them will probably prove valuable later on down the road in other high-intensity situations.”

In Friday night’s game, sophomore left fielder Tyler Pfeffer hit his eighth and ninth home runs of the season to drive the visiting Bucs 9-1 past Lewis & Clark in the first game of the weekend.

Pfeffer’s first homer boosted Whitworth to a 3-0 lead in the third inning, and his second scored three more runs in the fifth. Senior center fielder Kevin Valerio followed with a single up the left field line, extending the Pirates’ lead to eight.

“Tyler’s two three-run home runs were huge in terms of momentum in game one,” Ramsay said. “Our ability to score runs increases when we execute on offense.”

Miller claimed his first home run as a Buc in the seventh inning to give Whitworth a 9-0 lead over the Pioneers. Lewis & Clark’s sole run came off an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

Scheibe was the starting pitcher for the Bucs and struck out eight straight batters in Saturday’s opener, helping Whitworth to a 6-2 win over the Pioneers. He tossed seven innings for the Bucs, allowing one run off five hits and striking out 13 batters. Jason Renner relieved Scheibe, pitching the final one and one-third innings.

“I was hitting spots and getting stronger as the game went on,” Scheibe said. “It’s easy to go out and throw when I’ve got confidence in my hitters to pick me up and have my back offensively.”

Whitworth led 3-1 after three innings off an RBI single by Valerio, a Lewis & Clark error, and an RBI single by Scott. Sophomore second baseman Gerhard Muelheims scored off freshman short-stop Nick Motsinger’s RBI single to first base in the sixth inning, Jarrell scored in the seventh when Lewis & Clark’s pitcher hit senior catcher Michael Takemura with the bases loaded, and Valerio scored the Pirate’s final run off freshman right fielder Thomas Wakem’s RBI single up the middle in the ninth.

“We respected Lewis & Clark as a club and knew that if we backed down they could come up and beat us,” Scheibe said. “The key was showing up and playing our game, and we were able to do that for the most part.”

But after cruising past the Pioneers in games one and two, Whitworth played 10 innings in the final game of the series after Lewis & Clark rallied back from an 8-4 deficit to tie the game 8-8 in the ninth.

“[Lewis & Clark] is a young team with some talented players,” Ramsay said. “We knew they weren't going to roll over and knew they were going to put up a fight.”

But Jarrell stepped to the plate in the 10th inning with the bases loaded and polished off the three-game sweep with a grand slam over the left field wall.

“Game three's big momentum changer was obviously JR’s grand slam in the top of the 10th,” Ramsay said.

The Bucs are set to host Central Washington University on April 10 in a double-header makeup game before facing Pacific on Merkel Field April 14 and 15.

“[Friday and Saturday’s games] will be some of the most important baseball games we've had on our campus in 20 years,” Ramsay said. “It would be awesome to have a ton of support and get as many fans out to the field as possible.”

Whitworth currently stands second in the NWC behind Pacific, so the winner of Friday and Saturday’s series could potentially be the champion of the conference.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Bucs baseball defeated in doubleheader

The Whitworth baseball team fell short 10-7 and 9-7 in a doubleheader against Central Washington University on Sunday, March 4. The games were moved to Sunday after originally being scheduled for Saturday to allow the field to dry. Whitworth scored three runs in the second inning, but didn’t score again until the seventh inning when sophomore infielder/outfielder Gerhard Mulheims hit a home run, bringing in two runners and senior infielder Landon Scott scored off an RBI from senior first baseman JR Jarrell. Meanwhile, the Wildcats had back-to-back big innings in the fourth and fifth, scoring eight runs on the Pirates.

“It wasn't a very good performance for us,” Jarrell said. “I’m not sure what exactly went wrong, but we didn't play how we are capable of playing.”

Muelheims led the way with four RBIs in the first game. Freshman Spencer Ansett pitched four innings, giving up eight runs, while senior CJ Perry pitched 2.1 innings and gave up 2 runs. Sophomore Taylor Isadore threw 1.2 innings without allowing a run.

Whitworth overcame a 6-1 deficit in the second game, scoring five runs off three hits in the fifth inning to tie the game at six. Central scored again in the sixth and seventh innings and held on to the lead despite a ninth inning comeback attempt by Whitworth.

“They are a division II school but we played with them the whole game,” Jarrell said. “Our team is disappointed we didn’t come out with any wins.”

Freshman Dan Sheibe started the second game for the Bucs on the hill, allowing six earned runs.  Nick Mottsinger led Whitworth offensively going 4-5 at the plate with four RBIs.

The Pirates are now 6-3-1 overall and begin conference play March 10 and 11 at the University of Puget Sound.

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

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.

Whitworth offense swings the bats well in Pasco

 

The 2012 Whitworth baseball season is underway. The Pirates have posted a 4-3 record while exploding for 54 runs in their first seven games.

Over the weekend, the Bucs were in the Swing into Spring Baseball Classic in Pasco, Wash. Whitworth had a strong first two days of the tournament as the team beat Lewis & Clark College twice (14-5, 15-1), but lost 4-3 in a close contest with Corban College. The Pirates also beat the University of Puget Sound 7-3 on Sunday.

“We went into the weekend with the expectation of coming away 4-0,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “We ended up going 3-1, which is not a bad way to finish. I’m pretty happy with the way we performed and hope to continue with the momentum we gained from this tournament next weekend.”

In Whitworth’s Friday game against Lewis & Clark, the Pirates started off strong, collecting 11 hits in the game and 10 walks in the winning effort.

The game against Corban College started in similar fashion as the Bucs scored three runs in the first inning but then surrendered the lead in a 4-3 loss.

The Bucs ended Saturday the way they ended Friday, though, as they roughed up Lewis & Clark 15-1. The Bucs had a solid outing from senior pitcher CJ Perry as he gave up only one run in seven strong innings. An eight- run seventh inning for the Bucs finished off the Pioneers.

In Sunday’s game, the Pirates scored early and often again with four runs in the first two innings. Senior Landon Scott drove in one run and had two hits, and Muelheims (pictured above) had an RBI double in the 7-3 win over Puget Sound.

Whitworth will play again on Feb. 18 as it takes on Concordia University at 11 a.m. and University of Puget Sound at 1 p.m.

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Contact Nathan Webber at nwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.

File photo: Chrissy Roach Sophomore Gerhard Muelheims had an RBI double against the University of Puget Sound.