Whitworth baseball wraps up season in Idaho

The Whitworth baseball team played its final games of the season last weekend in Lewiston, Idaho and ended the season with 14 wins. Saturday afternoon Whitworth played Pacific Lutheran and won 6-0 while Sunday Whitworth lost 14-5 against Linfield and 20-9 against Lewis-Clark St.

Sophomore Dan Scheibe started against Pacific Lutheran for the Bucs and went seven innings with seven strikeouts. Pacific Lutheran only managed to get two hits and weren’t able to put any runs up on the board.  The Bucs generated eight hits in the game.

“Dan Scheibe, Taylor Isadore and Jason Renner pitched very well in game 1 against PLU, giving our team our second shutout win of the season,” sophomore Carson Blumenthal said.

Whitworth opened up the scoring with two unearned runs in the top of the third inning. The Bucs scored another run in the top of the fourth inning and with an RBI by sophomore Eric Nikssarian putting the Pirates in a 3-0 lead.

The fifth and sixth innings had two hits but no scoring. In the top of the eighth inning though, senior designated hitter Marlowe Peter put up two more runs for the Bucs and Whitworth won the game 6-0.

Sunday afternoon the Bucs took on first-place Linfield. Linfield scored two runs in the first inning and continued to score consecutively in the next three innings. But in the bottom of the fourth inning the Pirates were able to put two runs on the board. In the top of the sixth the Bucs were able to hold Linfield for an inning, while in the bottom of the sixth the Pirates scored three more runs and trailed 11-5.

“We hit really well this weekend and Gerhard Mulheims and Jeremy Druffel had an awesome weekend offensively which was great,” Nikssarian said. “I thought Danny Jordan and Nick Motsinger hit the ball well too. Our hitting was definitely our high point.”

In the top of the sixth, Linfield scored another run and held Whitworth for the rest of the game and won 14-5.

“This weekend was good and we played two good teams,” Nikssarian said. “We beat PLU with great pitching and showed that we still had some fight left, mostly we just wanted to have fun playing baseball.”

The second game on Sunday was a high-scoring game for both teams and a big hitting a game as well. Whitworth had a total of 15 hits and Lewis-Clark St. had 20 hits in the game.

In the top of the first inning, Whitworth scored two runs, but Lewis-Clark State put up seven runs leaving Whitworth with a large deficit from the start.

Whitworth didn’t end up scoring their second round of runs until the top of the fourth inning two of those being RBIs by sophomore shortstop Nick Motsinger.

“Our offense produced consistently and we did not give up in any of the games we played,” Blumenthal said. “It was a consistent effort all weekend.”

In the top of the fifth inning the Bucs scored another three runs, but Lewis-Clark state held their lead for the rest of the game and won 20-9.

Multiple players commented on their disappointment of the season, as they expected that they would have had the opportunity to play postseason baseball.

“This season had a lot ups and downs, but I would say that I'm a little disappointed with our performance and I think this season was a lesson and a wake up call and I think this season taught us how to lose,” Nikssarian said. “Losing is not fun, and when you lose more than you win it makes winning that much sweeter.”

Whitworth ended the season with a 14-25-1 record.

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth earns series win over Whitman

Nearing the end of the season, the Whitworth baseball team played last weekend in Walla Walla, Wash., beating Whitman twice Saturday before losing Sunday.

Whitman opened up the scoring in game one with a run in the bottom of the first inning and again another two runs in the bottom of the third to build a 3-0 lead.

“In game one we gave up an early lead, but it didn't affect our composure or drive from an offensive standpoint,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “Our guys just kept playing regardless of what the scoreboard said.”

Whitworth put up their first run in the top of the fifth when junior designated hitter Danny Jordan homered to left field.

“Danny Jordan had a really good day and he was DH [designated hitter] both games,” sophomore pitcher Dan Scheibe said. “He hit a homerun in the first game and that got us [the team] pretty pumped up.

Scheibe threw a complete game for the Bucs on Saturday, had 10 strikeouts and now has a 4-3 record for the season.

“Dan Scheibe had a great performance on the mound during game one,” Ramsay said.  “Once he settled in, they couldn't touch him.”

In the top of the fourth inning Whitworth scored an unearned run and freshman second baseman Jeremy Druffel, freshman right fielder Blake Thoren and Jordan each tallied one RBI. The Bucs in total put up four runs for the inning and led 5-3 in the top of the fourth.

“I think that when we got down we didn’t freak out, and we trusted ourselves and the plan and we had the ability to score runs when needed,” sophomore catcher Josh Davis said. “ We were pretty calm throughout the game and we had a great time, had fun and played for each other.”

The Pirates scored their last three runs in the top of the ninth inning and claimed an 8-3 win in the first game.

Both teams scored a run in game two in the first inning, and again Jordan put up the first run for the Bucs with a RBI single to right field.

The Bucs rose to the occasion in the top of the second inning though after an unearned run and a triple by Druffel down the right field line for three RBIs and a 5-3 lead. Druffel has a season batting average of .349.

“Jeremy Druffel had a bases clearing triple in the second game that really kept the momentum in our favor,” Ramsay said.

And the momentum only increased from there as the Bucs scored six more runs just halfway through the game in the top of the fifth. Both Druffel and freshman center fielder Jordan Pearson each chalked up two RBIs scoring four of their six runs that inning. The Bucs led 12-3 in the fifth inning.

“We were really hitting the ball well today and when we’re putting up a lot of runs it’s a lot easier for everything to work together,” Scheibe said.

Whitman wasn’t able to get another score on the board until the bottom of the eighth inning when they scored five runs, but weren’t able to make up the deficit. Whitworth swept Whitman on Saturday and won game two 13-9.

“I feel like this is the first time of the year that we’ve played our potential,” Davis said. “I feel like we’ve come together as a team and are looking forward to what we can produce next year.”

Sunday was a different ballgame for the Bucs as they didn’t get any hits until the top of the third inning. Whitman took off in the bottom of the second inning after scoring six runs and leading 6-0.

Whitman didn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth inning when they put up two more runs, but Whitworth was left empty handed still unable to get any runs on the board.

Sophomore pitcher Carson Blumenthal pitch three innings for the Pirates and had four strikeouts. Whitworth had another three pitchers for the game, junior Taylor Isadore, sophomore Spencer Ansett and junior Jason Renner who each had one strikeout.

The Bucs were shutout on Sunday afternoon, and lost to Whitman 9-0.

The baseball team will be playing their last games of the season in Lewiston, Idaho against Linfield, Pacific Lutheran and Lewis-Clark State May 4 and 5.

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth baseball bounces back in Sunday win

The Whitworth baseball team put another three games in the bag last weekend coming out with two losses on Saturday and a high-scoring win on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon the Bucs put two runs on the board right away in the bottom of the first inning. Willamette came back in the top of the second inning with two runs and putting them to hold a one-run lead.

Neither team was able to chalk up another run until the bottom of the sixth inning when Whitworth put up one run after junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer scored on a throwing error by Willamette,  tying the game 3-3.

“I thought there some definite positive take always from this weekend,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “We played great defensively both Saturday and Sunday. We just failed to cash in with runners in scoring position multiple times on Saturday.”

Sophomore Dan Scheibe pitch seven innings for the Bucs in game one and had six strikeouts. Sophomore Spencer Ansett took the mound for the final two innings.

In the top of the ninth Willamette claimed a two-run lead with two RBIs and won the game 5-3 Saturday afternoon.

“We have been a very inconsistent team this entire season and it's mostly due to the fact that we never found our rhythm as a team,” sophomore center fielder Eric Nikssarian said. “Something we have been consistent at is our defense though.”

Game two on Saturday went for ten innings and Willamette was off to a good start right away scoring two in the top of the first. Again, Willamette scored another run in the top of the third and leading the game 3-0.

“I'm not satisfied[with the teams performance], my expectation for this group was much higher, so it's clear that this season has been a disappointment,” Ramsay said. “However, I'm confident moving forward that we will grow from our experience this season.”

In the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings the Bucs responded with two more runs, but it they were still trailed by two.

The Pirates were able to tie up the game in the bottom of the ninth forcing the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth Willamette dropped three RBIs and lead by three winning the game 9-6.

“We challenged the guys on Saturday following our games to treat the rest of our games as a 7-game season,” Ramsay said. “They responded well on Sunday with the win, hopefully we can continue with that play.”

Sunday afternoon sophomore Carson Blumenthal started on the mound and threw a complete game for the Pirates. In pitching the shutout, Blumenthal earned his fourth win of the year.

“We got a fantastic pitching performance from Carson Blumenthal who was great with two strikes, minimized walks, and came up with clutch outs in big time situations to get the complete game shutout,” Nikssarian said.

Willamette used five different pitchers on Sunday in a high-scoring game.

Whitworth scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and three of those were RBIs by freshman right fielder Blake Thoren after he doubled out to left field.

“After seeing sporadic time throughout the year, Blake Thoren played extremely well in all three of his starts this weekend both offensively and defensively,” Ramsay said.

Whitworth put up another two runs in the bottom of the second inning and continued scoring runs in every inning preceding the end of the game. Freshman third baseman Jeremy Druffel and junior second baseman each had three RBIs for the Pirates as well.

“On Saturday our offense didn't do as well as we would have liked, but today[Sunday] we fired on all cylinders and we scored more runs consistently than we have all year,” Blumenthal said.

Whitworth executed on Sunday, keeping Willamette scoreless and won the game 15-0, Whitworth’s highest scoring game of the year.

Whitworth will be playing its next three games in Walla Walla, Wash. against Whitman on April 27 and 28.

“Today [Sunday] we really found what it feels like to win again,” Blumenthal said. “I think the feeling that it brought will inspire guys to work harder than they have all year, even harder than we already do.”

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Bucs swept in road series

The Whitworth baseball team was swept by Pacific University in a three-game series Forest Grove, Ore.

Saturday the Bucs lost their first game 2-1, their second game 8-1 and Sunday 6-3.

Sophomore Dan Scheibe started game one for the Bucs and went seven innings with two strikeouts. Junior Jason Renner threw one inning and had one strikeout for the Pirates. Pacific University’s Rob Dittrick threw a complete game and had four strikeouts.

“‘G’ [Gerhard Muelheims] played extremely well all weekend and had a consistent approach in every game,” sophomore pitcher Carson Blumenthal said. “Dan pitched really well in game one but we let them score a couple runs in the late innings and just couldn’t come out with a win.”

The Bucs managed to get a hit in the first inning, but scored no runs. It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning that Whitworth broke a scoreless tie. Freshman third baseman Jeremy Druffel got Whitworth’s only RBI in the top of the sixth for Whitworth.

In the bottom of the seventh inning Pacific came back with one run after a single was hit to left field. Again, Pacific University was able to score another run in the bottom of the eighth inning after a triple was hit to centerfield and the Boxers scored their second run of the game.

Game two started off well for Pacific as they chalked up two runs in the first inning after three hits and two runs scored. Whitworth came out of the top of the second inning with no runs or hits, but Pacific managed to get another run putting them at a two run lead in the bottom of the second.

“In the beginning of the season we were able to string hits together and things were going our way,” junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer said. “Now we aren't capitalizing like we should be and we aren't executing very well.”

Pacific again scored an additional five runs by the bottom of the eighth. Whitworth was able to put a run on the board in the top of the ninth inning after freshman outfielder Blake Thoren scored on a wild pitch, but it wasn’t enough to to close the gap.

“Our offense wasn't producing the way we would want it to [this weekend] obviously, but it’s definitely something we need to work on and also find a way to execute when we need to,” Blumenthal said.

Sunday’s game was off to a better start than Saturday’s previous games for the Pirates and first baseman Gerhard Muelheims started off the game with a double down the left field line followed by a single hit by freshman second baseman Jeremy Druffel advancing Muelheims to third. Druffel was caught stealing second base, but Muelheims was able to score putting the first run on the board for the Bucs.

Teammate Pfeffer said that Muelheims hit the ball well this weekend. Muelheims was the top hitter on for the Bucs this weekend and has a season batting average of .404.

Whitworth scored their second run in the top of the second inning, but Pacific was able to put up two to Whitworth’s second run in the second inning tying up the game 2-2.

In the top of the third inning the Bucs were once again able to keep up their consistency scoring in each inning and scored their third run of the game after a single was hit by Pfeffer and Muelheims scored.

Pacific came back in the bottom of the fourth inning for two more runs putting them in the lead 4-3. They also scored an additional two in the bottom of the sixth inning and placed themselves at a 6-3 lead.

In the beginning of the season we were able to string hits together and things were going our way,” Pfeffer said. “Now we aren't capitalizing like we should be and we aren't executing very well.”

As of now Whitworth has 10-20-1 record for their season.

“We we're more focused on what we wanted at the end of the season rather than everything it was going to take to achieve the success we wanted,” Blumenthal said.

Whitworth will be playing again April 20 and 21 on their home turf against the Willamette University Bearcats. The Bearcats stand with a 14-18 record for their season.

Sasha Siclait Staff Writer Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Pioneers take series from Bucs

The Whitworth baseball team continued its season last weekend against the Lewis & Clark Pioneers on Whitworth’s home turf and came away with a win and loss on Saturday and a loss on Sunday.

The first game on Saturday was a high-scoring game for both teams with the Bucs winning 15-12.

Prior to the game, the Pirates dedicated recently-renovated Merkel Field with a ceremony and President Beck Taylor threw the ceremonial first pitch.

When the game started, the Pirates came out scoring four runs in the first inning highlighted by two-run homer from sophomore catcher Josh Davis.  Lewis & Clark was held scoreless until the fourth inning.

Whitworth President Beck Taylor throws out the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday. Tanner Scholten | Photographer

Junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer chalked up another two RBIs in the bottom of the second inning for the Bucs, to build a six-run lead. There were three more runs scored and that gave the Bucs a nine-run lead at the bottom of the second.

“Offensively we hit the ball better than we have all year on Saturday,” sophomore center fielder Erik Nikssarian said. “Our bats woke up and we were hitting the ball hard and they were finally dropping.”

The bats in game one were the best that they had been all year, head coach Dan Ramsay said.

Sophomore Dan Scheibe pitched six innings for the Bucs and had seven strikeouts, but the Pioneers were able to string some hits together and managed to score two runs in the top of the fourth and consistently put runs on the board in the next three innings.

After Whitworth added six more runs in the bottom of the fifth, Lewis & Clark came back with a home run in the top of the seventh inning and rounded in five runs. But the comeback wasn’t enough to defeat the Bucs in game one. Saturday was the Bucs first win after seven consecutive losses.

“We've been successful in the fact that we're getting better at the things we work on from week to week. Hits and runs, bunts, etcetera have been executed extremely well,” Ramsay said.  “Now we just need to keep improving and moving forward game by game.”

Game two against the Pioneers on Saturday saw Lewis & Clark respond and earn a 12-4 win.

“In the second game we still outhit them, but we couldn’t scratch runs across,” Nikssarian said. “The difference between the first and second game was getting guys into scoring position and we left them on base.”

Both teams scored in the first inning and Pfeffer had a single bringing in an RBI for the Bucs.  For the first six innings the Bucs and Pioneers tousled back and forth each scoring runs consecutively leaving neither team with a solid lead.

In the top of the of the seventh though, the Pioneers had three RBIs and one unearned run putting them at a three point lead.

Pioneer starter John Trupin threw a complete game and was able to execute on the mound while not allowing the Pirates to get the runs they needed to win the game.

“We let a pitcher go all nine innings, and our inability to get to their bullpen and get runs across the board caused us to lose this game,” Nikssarian said.

It was a rainy Sunday as the Pirates took on the Pioneers once again and significantly less attendance from the fan section. Sophomore Nick Scoury started off pitching for the Bucs and threw for a full seven innings and junior Jason Renner pitched the last two to finish off the game.

“Nick Scourey and Jason Renner did a very good job of pitching today. They both have us a chance to win the game,” Ramsay said.

Sunday’s game was off to a slow start asboth teams were connecting with the ball but neither team could seem to get runners into scoring position.

In the bottom of the third inning Nikssarian singled out to left field and later scored the Pirates first run of the game. Pfeffer then cranked a double out to left field for an RBI and junior first baseman Gerhard Muelheims scored the second run of the game.

“Tyler Pfeffer and Gerhard Muelheims both played really well offensively and defensively today,” Ramsay said. “I was also impressed with Nathan Jewett, he played smart baseball and executed when we asked him to.”

The Bucs were in a two-run lead until the Pioneers came back in the top of the sixth inning with four runs. All four of these runs were unearned leaving the Bucs in a two-run deficit in the sixth.

Both teams scored all of their runs in one inning and the Bucs ended Sunday with a 4-2 loss to the Pioneers.

“Our biggest challenge right now is dealing with the adversity that comes from losing games you expect to win, but I'm convinced this adversity will turn out to be a positive thing down the road,” Ramsay said. “Our guys are tough enough to move forward in tough times as long as we stay together we'll be that much better down the road.”

The Bucs will be playing their next three games against Pacific University. Pacific University had a 6-9 NWC record while Whitworth stands at 5-10 in the NWC. The games will be on April 13 and 14 in Forest Grove, Ore.

Sasha Siclait Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Campus Connection: Ross Cutter and Paul Merkel

Ross Cutter  

Whitworth athletics has had more ups and downs than a monitor displaying a healthy heartbeat — from a national championship in 1960 and 45 Northwest Conference titles in just the last 10 years, to almost being dropped from all sports competition in their conference almost 50 years ago.

Notable among the history of Whitworth athletics are Ross Cutter and Paul Merkel, both of whom coached at Whitworth.

Cutter first got a job as a physical education professor at Whitworth College in 1958, and then found himself coaching tennis for the Pirates in his second year with the school.

“I just kind of fell into the job,” Cutter said.

The dean at the time was Alvin Quall, who was also the coach of the tennis team in 1958. Quall, having a significant amount of responsibility on campus already, told Cutter he would coach the team beginning the next year.

“This was the middle of my first year,” Cutter said. “I’m not going to say I won’t.”

So, the Cal-Berkeley grad took over the Whitworth tennis program in 1959. Although he claims not to have had a tennis background fit for coaching, Cutter saw great success in his first few years as its head, which included a couple of tennis players making it into national semifinal spotlight. The tennis team also had victories over big-name schools such as Oregon State and Washington State, and gave the University of Washington a healthy scare in a dangerously close 4-3 loss, he said.

“There were just some great players when I got the job,” Cutter said.

Cutter continued to coach for more than 30 years, instilling team-building traditions such as inviting a campus figure, such as well-known professors or administrators, to handle the ceremonial opening of the game balls with a few words of encouragement before a home match, or urging his players to take their opponents to Graves Gym for a soda after their match, no matter how hard-fought or heated the match may have been.

The team’s success drew a huge part of the student body to matches, especially their barn-burner at home against the University of Washington, Cutter said. Each one of the team-building activities all the way up to the success that Cutter brought to this program, played a small part in bringing the Whitworth community closer together, he said. Whitworth’s Cutter Tennis Courts are named in honor of Cutter’s contributions to the school.

 

Merkel Field was named after former Whitworth student-athlete and coach Paul Merkel. The baseball field was renovated this past off-season. Merkel’s name is displayed on the outfield scoreboard. Keely Cooper | File Photo

 

Paul Merkel

 

Paul Merkel was the coach of Whitworth’s first and only national championship team. Merkel lettered 11 times in football, basketball, baseball and tennis while earning two degrees at Whitworth. Beginning in 1955, Merkel coached Whitworth baseball and played other major roles for Whitworth until his retirement in 1990, according to The Spokesman-Review.

It wasn’t until the 1972 season that Pirate baseball joined the Northwest Conference. Merkel saw the program he formerly coached win a total of five NWC championships in the program’s first 12 years in the conference. That record was bested only by Linfield’s eight consecutive titles from 1959 to 1966, the longest such streak in 85 years of Northwest Conference baseball, according to the Northwest Conference website archives.

On top of his accomplishments with the baseball team, Merkel’s significant work behind the scenes  ensured that Whitworth would continue to have an athletic program. When the school was still a part of the Evergreen Conference in the 1960s, Pirate athletics were about to be dropped from all sports competition due to failure in reaching the minimum number of sports needed to stay in the conference, according to The Spokesman-Review.

Merkel, Whitworth’s athletic director at the time, decided the school would form a swim team to save athletics. Merkel put a swim team in place and coached it himself, on top of being a large part of the baseball program as well as the athletic director. Merkel died Aug. 24, 2002 at the age of 80.

Though his time at Whitworth has come and gone, his name remains a part of Whitworth athletics. Whitworth’s baseball field is named Merkel Field in remembrance of Merkel’s services to the university.

Korey Hope Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu

Spring break recaps

 

Men’s Golf

The men’s golf team competed in The West Cup in Jurupa Valley, Calif., over spring break at the Goose Creek Golf Club. Whitworth placed third out of 15 teams. As a team, the Pirates shot a 34 over par and freshman Oliver Rudnicki shot a one under par to lead Whitworth. Junior Jesse Salzwedel placed second for the Pirates with an eight over par.

 

Women’s Golf

The Whitworth women’s golf team finished tied for second at the Ohana Classic in Hawaii over spring break, finishing just behind Northwest Conference foe Willamette. The Pirates were led by senior Emily Guthrie and freshman Chelsea Bayley, who both earned points for Whitworth in match play.

 

Men’s Track and Field

Over the break the men competed in the Buc Scoring Invite and junior Keegan Shea broke the school record in the hammer with a throw of 186-10 and senior Carter Comito tied the track record for discus with a throw of 193-1. They continued the following week to compete at the Peyton Scoring Meet and a handful of the men’s team broke nine meet records including Comito’s two wins in the shot put (55-9) and discus (186-8).

 

Women’s Track and Field

The women competed in the Buc Scoring Invite over Spring Break where freshman Kellyn Roiko’s 18:21.63 5000-meter run was the second fastest time in the Northwest Conference so far this year. The team competed in the Peyton Scoring Meet, in which Roiko set a new meet record in the 3000- meter steeplechase with a time of 11:39.98. Senior Rebekah Daniels broke another meet record in the hammer with a throw of 156-3.

 

Baseball

The Bucs baseball team played a pair of three-game series against Linfield and George Fox over spring break and suffered a six-game losing streak. The Bucs scored just 16 runs over the two series after plating 18 runs in the previous two games prior to spring break. In the final game against George Fox, the Pirates nearly broke the winning streak but lost 5-4 with a walk-off home run by George Fox in extra innings.

 

Softball

The Whitworth softball team went 6-4 over spring break, taking three of four against Lewis & Clark and going 3-3 in National Training Center Spring Games in Florida. Senior Jamie Brunner accounted for 16 hits and 17 RBIs through the 10 games.

 

Men’s tennis

The men’s tennis team spent spring break in California and had three matches against non-conference teams. The men started out strong with a 7-2 win over Caltech. The following two matches ended in defeat, with the Bucs losing to College of the Desert 7-2 and to Occidental 9-0.

 

Women’s tennis

Over spring break, the women’s tennis team traveled to California to compete with three schools outside the Northwest Conference. The Bucs were swept by MIT 9-0, but followed it up with a 5-4 win over Caltech. The women ended the week with a 6-3 loss against Westmont.

 

Whitworthian sports staff

 

 

Baseball rebounds on Sunday against Lutes

The baseball team was back on the road again this weekend as they took on the Pacific Lutheran Lutes in Tacoma, Wash.

Saturday the baseball team played a double header and ended lost both games, the first game  4-3 and the second game 5-4.

A rainy weekend in Tacoma made for two long games due to the weather conditions and sophomore center fielder Erik Nikssarian said this caused rain delays during the game. Although the weather wasn’t preferable for the Bucs on Saturday they still displayed two solid pitching games.

“Pitching in both games was awesome,” Nikssarian said. “Dan Scheibe started the first game and went at least six strong innings and when Taylor Isadore came in he also pitched well.”

The first game on Saturday started off slow and lacked offense early on, with only two hits from the Pirates and none from the Lutes until the third inning. The Lutes had a single to left field, and with another hit to left field the Lutes were able to round in a runner and score their first run.

Still in the fourth and fifth inning the Bucs weren’t solidifying a lot of offense on the field as the Lutes solidified three outs in a row both innings.

In the top of the sixth inning the Bucs were able to score two runs taking the lead nearing the end of the game, but the Lutes again were able to come back with three runs in the bottom of the seventh.

“We faced two very talented starting pitchers in game one and game two,” Ramsay said. “When the other team has their best guys going you have to cash in when run scoring opportunities present themselves. I think we failed to do that a number of times.”

Although the Pirates were able to score again in the top of the eighth inning, it wasn’t enough and fell short 4-3.

Sophomore Carson Blumenthal started off the second game on the hill  for the Bucs, pitching seven solid innings, and had a total of seven strikeouts for the game.

“Carson[Blumenthal] pitched awesome to start off the game,” Nikssarian said. Nikssarian also said that pitching was one of their strengths overall for both games on Saturday.

Not only were the Pirates, pitchers able to come through with strong pitching, but they also faced two of the top pitchers in the conference.

“The other pitchers were good, two of the best in the whole league, and I think that Dan [Scheibe] and I threw just as well if not better than they did,” Blumenthal said. “We gave our team a chance to win.”

The Bucs struggled to execute defensively on the field though, and gave up two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“I think we could have limited a little better defensively,” Ramsay said. “In close ball games any second chance you give a team can prove to be devastating, we gave one too many second chances today.” The Lutes scored their first run in the game in the bottom of the third inning after a single to left field, and in the top of the fourth the Bucs scored their first after junior first baseman Justin Liu singled to right field for an RBI.

Whitworth scored two additional runs in the top of the fifth when junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer singled out to right field bringing Nikssarian in for their second run. The third run was scored by freshman third baseman Jeremy Druffel after an error by Lutes defense.

Both teams scored in the seventh inning, but the Bucs lost the led when the Lutes came back with a run two RBIs at the bottom of the ninth inning winning the game 5-4.

“Part of it is that its easy to get complacent when you’re on top, and I think if we stick with our original approach and fight every at bat and every pitch we'll be fine as a team,” Scheibe said. “Last year we had a motto that we didn’t lose on Sundays, and we didn’t. I just hope we take these two losses in the conference and  build on them.”

The Bucs held true to their motto Sunday afternoon as they took on the Lutes once again and beat them 9-8. Starting off the game scoring a run in the first inning, the Bucs immediately displayed that they weren’t getting swept this weekend.

“ We came out from beginning and put runs on them right away,” Pfeffer said. “We came out stronger than we did on Saturday.”

Pfeffer had an RBI in the top of the first inning out to right field and sophomore shortstop Nick Motsinger tallied an RBI in the second inning for the Bucs putting them in the lead right away.

“We put the ball in play more and  there were not as many strikeouts as Saturday,” Pfeffer said. “We put pressure on defense which ended up being beneficial for us.”

The fourth inning was a big stretch for the Bucs when  junior second baseman Danny Jordan had a triple down the right field line and Jordan rounded in three RBIs.

In the bottom of the fifth inning the Lutes were able to fight back with four runs, but the Bucs chalked up another three runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Ramsay said that the Bucs weren’t discouraged from their previous games.

“I think our players understand that it's a long season and that if you fret for too long about any particular loss, you put yourself in a bad spot for future games,” Ramsay said. “Like all sports, sooner or later you're going to lose, fortunately we control how we respond to it.”

The Bucs stuck to their motto and won with a 9-8 victory over the Lutes Sunday afternoon.

“We like to look at ourselves as a championship team and a championship game is always on Sunday,” Pfeffer said.

Whitworth will take on Linfield Wildcats on March 23 and 24 at Whitworth University.

Sasha Siclait Staff Writer Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Baseball sweeps Loggers in first home series

It was a busy week for the Whitworth baseball team as they faced Central Washington on Tuesday, March 5 and started the conference schedule with a sweep against the Puget Sound Loggers over the weekend. The Bucs started off Tuesday scoring in the first inning with a run batted in by sophomore catcher Josh Davis. In the bottom of the third inning, Central generated offense, managing to get three hits and score two runs.

“They got up on us early [in the game] and we didn’t have any fight the rest of the game,” junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer said.

The Bucs continued to fall behind only scoring one run in the first inning and scoring their other run in the sixth inning. Central scored consistently in the second and third innings, and scored three more runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Central beat Whitworth 7-2 on Tuesday evening.

Saturday, the Pirates played a doubleheader against Puget Sound with the stands full of fans. Head coach Dan Ramsay commented on the the high energy generated from the Pirates over the weekend.

“I thought the energy was great for the home opener,” Ramsay said. “We had a great crowd and it wasn't difficult for us to get excited about opening conference play and defending our 2012 conference championship.”

The Bucs were able to play a game on the newly-renovated turf field this weekend for the first time this season.

“We were all excited to come out and play our first game on the new field,” freshman third baseman Jeremy Druffel said. “We showed our energy and got two wins, which was good.”

The Pirates first game on Saturday against the Loggers started off slow for both teams. There was only one hit total for the game until the top of the third inning when Puget Sound had three hits and one run. Although Puget Sound began to pick up the offensive pace, Whitworth stuck right with them throughout the game.

Sophomore Dan Scheibe delivers a pitch against Puget Sound on Saturday, March 10. Photographer | Megan Hinzdel

Although Whitworth had two errors in the sixth inning, they managed to score their third run in the bottom of the sixth after an RBI by sophomore right fielder Thomas Wakem.

Whitworth finished off the first game Saturday with a 4-2 win against Puget Sound.

In the second game on Saturday the Pirates and Loggers were locked in a close contest until the sixth inning. Whitworth ended up scoring four runs en route to a 12-3 victory and a sweep for Saturday.

“We knew that UPS had a number of arms that would attack us with their sliders.” Ramsay said. “ One of our assistant coaches [Jon Whiteside] throws a natural slider, so we worked on staying inside the ball and hitting the mistake slider hard the other way.”

In the bottom of the seventh inning the Bucs scored four runs, and added seven more runs in the bottom of the eighth.

“We prepared for the pitchers that we were going to face,” sophomore pitcher Carson Blumenthal said. “We’ve seen him before, and that guy [Logger pitcher] is a senior so we know his tendencies.”

Blumenthal also had a great game Saturday, throwing a complete game for the Pirates.

“The second game was faster paced because Carson Blumenthal was very efficient on the mound,” Ramsay said. “He threw just over 100 pitches in a complete game effort which is pretty rare.”

Druffel helped lead the Pirates offensively, tallying four RBIs including a home run well over the fence in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The game stretched on for 16 innings and the crowd attendance was significantly less, but the Bucs weren’t phased.

“I thought our energy was fantastic throughout the weekend,” Ramsay said. “Especially because of the length of the third game.  I was very happy with our energy this weekend.”

The Loggers started off the game scoring a run in the top of the first inning, and the Bucs responded with two runs in the bottom of the first.

Freshman infielder Nathan Jewett hit a single to left center for an RBI and put the Bucs in the lead for a short time in the bottom of the third, but the Loggers came back with three runs in the top of the fifth.

Sophomore Nick Scourey pitched six innings for the Bucs, and junior Taylor Isadore took over for Scourey in the seventh inning. Both pitchers had five strikeouts on Sunday and sophomore pitcher Spencer Ansett came in finishing the last three innings for the Bucs with one strikeout.

In the bottom of the eighth inning sophomore catcher Josh Davis added an RBI after he singled to left field, and tied up the game for the Pirates.

“Statistically we actually hit better on Sunday, I think we failed to execute numerous times with runners in scoring position which allowed the game to last as long as it did,” Ramsay said.

The Pirates put a stop to the long-lasting game when Pfeffer hit an RBI single to left field, and junior first baseman Justin Liu scored in the 16th inning to give the Pirates a 6-5 win.

Whitworth will be playing again on March 16 and 17 in Tacoma, Wash. as they take on the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, and Central again on March 19.

“As the weekend went on, our energy improved and was consistent throughout each game, which helped our overall morale for all three games and played a huge role in our sweep over Puget Sound,” Davis said. “We just need to carry our energy through to our next series at PLU.”

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

 

 

Baseball takes on competition in Texas

The Whitworth baseball team split its two games last Saturday before losing to Texas-Tyler on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday Whitworth won its first game against Austin College 6-2. Whitworth took control from the beginning scoring a run in the first inning.

“We attacked the pitcher and made him throw a lot of pitches and we eventually got to their bullpen,” sophomore shortstop Nick Motsinger. “ Once we did that, we knew we had a good shot of winning.”

The Pirates recorded three hits and a run in the first inning against Austin to take the early lead. Austin had two errors in the first two innings and didn’t manage to get a run on the board until the bottom of the fifth inning.

Whitworth continued to hit consistently throughout the game and tallied four more hits than Austin.

Saturday evening the Bucs played another game, losing 5-4 to Texas-Tyler.

Whitworth didn’t have a hit until the third inning while Texas-Tyler was able to get its offense going right away and scored a run in both the first and second innings.

“I think our guys could have done a better job of answering when we were down, “ head coach Dan Ramsay said. “We did a fairly good job of battling late in games though.”

Sophomore second baseman Danny Jordan had a run batted in and sophomore catcher Josh Davis scored in the sixth inning for the Pirates first run of the game. Whitworth ended the game with no errors and nine hits against Texas-Tyler on Saturday.

Sunday morning the Pirates took on Texas-Tyler again, but walked away with a 12-2 loss.

“They scored six runs in the second inning and everyone got down on themselves,” junior outfielder Tyler Pfeffer said.

Texas-Tyler had a triple and followed up with a single RBI giving them their first score of the game. An error by Whitworth resulted in a third run in for Texas and they finished the inning with six runs and five RBIs.

The Bucs were able to score two runs in the eighth inning with an RBI by junior first baseman Justin Liu and an RBI for freshman right fielder Blake Thoren but the Bucs couldn’t make up the deficit to win the game and Texas-Tyler ended the weekend with a sweep of the Pirates.

“Today [Sunday] our energy was poor and we didn’t deserve to win,” Pfeffer said.

The trip to Texas was preseason for the Pirates and they begin league play March 9 at home against Puget Sound at Merkel Field.

 

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Upgrade project underway for Pirate baseball

Makeover at Merkel Field includes installation of new turf infield surface Coming off of a historic and memorable 2012 season, which included a Northwest Conference title, a trip to the NCAA Division III World Series and an eighth-place finish nationally, the Whitworth baseball team now anxiously awaits an upgraded Merkel Field.

“We’re coming off of a year where as the season wound down we were ranked as high as number eight in the country,” baseball head coach Dan Ramsay said. “Now we can literally tell kids we’re one of the best teams in the country. With the upgrade, not only is Whitworth a great academic university, not only are we a great team, but we also have one of the best facilities.”

With such grand success, the Whitworth administration and athletic department wanted to reward and encourage the success with an updated facility.

“The baseball facility by and large is the most lacking of all of our athletic facilities,” Whitworth athletic director Aaron Leetch said. “It was imperative that we make a commitment to that program and to that facility and in many ways to honor the success that they had in this last year.”

Gerhard Muelheims, a junior infielder for the Bucs, is one of the players who will benefit from the renovation.

“As far as the team is concerned right now, it’s been a big morale boost,” Muelheims said.

The renovation is to be completed in three phases. The first phase will replace the entire infield with turf, excluding the pitcher’s mound, which will remain dirt. The backstop will become brick with netting on top. Leetch said the purpose of this is to make the field more fan-friendly, which will make games easier to watch than they were through the chain link.

The second phase of the project will include sinking the baseball dugouts three steps into the ground, to give a truer dugout feel. The intention for the final phase is to install new elevated bleachers and a press box.

“We’re hoping that with the new facility and the new stands they’re going to put in, we get the amount of support we did last year,” Muelheims said. “That was a huge part of why we did as well as we did; the last couple weeks we had lots of fan support and we were really thankful for that.”

Leetch said the turf, backstop and netting phases are all in progress now and the anticipated finishing date is Nov. 1. Likewise, the dugout digging began last week for phase two. The timing of phase three will depend on the efficiency of work this fall. The goal is to not jeopardize the Bucs’ home season due to construction.

The projected is estimated to cost somewhere around $800,000, most of which has been fundraised by many generous Whitworth supporters.

“From a fundraising perspective, when you have success like [last season] it creates a culture that people want to invest in the program so we jumped on it as quickly as we could,” Leetch said.

Ramsay emphasized the convenience the new field will have in terms of the unpredictable Spokane weather. The turf will be easier to cover during rain and easier to plow in the event of snow. Likewise, the hope is this will allow the Bucs more practice time.

“People don’t really realize this but baseball is a unique sport as we take care of our own facility,” Ramsay said. “We go out there and grab the rakes at the end of practice. It’s a time commitment to do that. Out of a two hour practice, we spend 25-30 minutes working on the field itself. That’s 25-30 minutes we could be working to make our athletes better.”

Hopes are high for the young Pirate squad again this year.

Last season’s trip to Appleton, Wis., for the Division III World Series was an invigorating experience for the team, and they have the same I hopes for the 2013 season.

“We expect to be back in Appleton,” Muelheims said. “I know a lot of people on the outside looked at our year and said, ‘They had a great season.’ But last year we felt like we didn’t reach our goal and that was to win a national championship.”

Both Leetch and Ramsay made their gratitude very clear to the administration and the donors who have allowed this project to take place and in such an efficient time frame as well.

“It says a lot about the support we have for the program from people who aren’t even invested in the program [as players or coaches],” Ramsay said. “It’s been truly a blessing.”

Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.