Lewis-Clark strikes back handing ‘Birds back-to-back losses
By Jeff Sargent
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (21-10, 11-7) suffered a pair of losses Saturday afternoon to the visiting Lewis-Clark State Warriors (19-11, 10-6) at Thunderbird Park.
The T-Birds ran into a hot pitcher in Matt Fish in Game 1 managing three hits while being shut out for the first time all season in conference play. After UBC earned the Friday doubleheader sweep to open the weekend the Warriors returned the favour with a 7-2 win in game two Saturday highlighted by a four run second inning.
“We got outplayed today,” said UBC assistant coach Shawn Bowman.
“It’s tough to win a baseball game when you only score two runs in 18 innings. We knew that they were going to come back with some resiliency because they felt like they owed us for when we played at their place and beat them two out of three, and then winning two games yesterday we knew they were going to come out firing and they did.”
The Warriors got their bats going right off the hop in Saturday’s opener with a lead-off double for Raymond Pedrina who scored the game’s first run two batters later. Lewis-Clark proceeded to load the bases with two more singles but UBC’s Tyler Gillies pitched himself out of the jam getting Micah Brown to pop out and following up by striking out Marten Pauwels.
The right hander then retired six straight batters and seven of his next eight but the T-Birds bats weren’t able to provide any help as UBC remained down 1-0 through three innings.
The Warriors tacked on another run in the top of the fourth when Cooper Goldby singled to left field sending Gunnar Buhner across the plate.
Fish had a perfect game through four and two thirds innings until Nick Spillman hit a single to left-centre to finally get a T-Bird base runner, but Fish recovered getting John Whaley to fly out to end the inning.
The Warriors increased their lead in the eighth with a Brown single allowing Seaver Whalen to score from third.
Aidan Goodall came in to pitch the ninth for UBC after the ‘Birds got yet another strong start from Gillies who allowed three runs on eight hits striking out five. Goodall retired the only three batters he faced as the T-Birds needed a big rally down by three.
With two out, Austen Butler tripled to the centre field fence but Fish got Mitch Robinson to pop out to end the game.
Fish got the complete game shutout in a terrific outing for the Warriors allowing just three hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Lewis-Clark opened scoring early once again in the second half of the double header in a dam-bursting second inning scoring a total of four runs.
The T-Birds responded in the bottom of the third beginning with a Tyler Yorko lead-off walk. Butler then laid down a perfect bunt just inside the third base line and was able to make it to first putting two runners on for Robinson who got to first himself on a slow roller to third beating the throw to load the bases for Vinny Martin. The first baseman came through with a two-run single into left field to cut the Warriors’ lead in half.
The sequence chased Gage Burland from the mound after surrendering two runs on four hits and walking three through two plus innings of work. David Wilson entered from the bullpen for the Warriors and shut down the T-Birds preventing any further damage in the third and allowed just one hit through four innings of work.
After a pair of Warrior singles to start the fifth, Liam Stroud came in from the bullpen for the Thunderbirds. Adam McKillican finished the day allowing six runs on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts. With runners on the corners, JJ Robinson hammered the ball to deep right field scoring two to restore the Warriors’ four run lead.
Lewis-Clark added another run in the eighth when Buhner hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Evan Douglas from third.
After just three hits in the first game Saturday the T-Birds had 11 in the second but weren’t able to cash in, something Bowman credits to straying from the team’s game plan.
“When outcomes aren’t where you need them to be or want them to be you start to press a little bit and start to do too much instead of stringing hits together which is why we won two games yesterday,” said Bowman.
“It’s just a matter of taking a step back and understanding our game plan and what you’re trying to do when you get up to the plate.”
The pair of Warriors wins evens the five-game series at two games apiece with the rubber match set for Sunday morning at Thunderbird Park. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. PT.