Noble leads the way in series opening win over the ‘Yotes
By Jeff Sargeant
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (17-8, 7-5) opened a four-game series against the College of Idaho Yotes (14-16, 7-6) with a dominant 7-0 win Friday afternoon at Thunderbird Park.
Connor Noble went seven scoreless innings allowing seven hits with six strikeouts, while the ‘Birds put up four runs in the second inning alone, improving to 4-1 on home field this season.
The ‘Birds pounded out eight hits on the afternoon, including three triples which tied a team record.
After managing just six runs in their last three games combined, UBC head coach Chris Pritchett was pleased with what he saw.
“Against (Coyotes’ starting pitcher Zach) Draper, one of the better pitchers in the league, left-hander, who gave us a lot of trouble last year, but we had a good, hard week of practice and the guys came out and performed,” said Pritchett.
“Right from the beginning there were runners on base, we were moving them around, and today we were able to cash them in too. Much more pressure, a lot more active offensively, good signs for sure.”
The ‘Yotes threatened early in the game but Noble battled his way out of trouble as C of I stranded five runners through the first two innings. UBC’s starter allowed just three more hits through the next five innings and retired 13 of his final 15 batters.
“A few walks here or there and they hit me around a little bit early but thankfully I didn’t give up any runs,” said Noble who improved to 3-0 in conference play.
“It was nice to get momentum going for our team in our half and keep that going. We got back to doing what we needed to do, T-Bird baseball. We really needed that victory to keep the momentum going.”
After getting a run on the board in the first, UBC’s bats came alive in the second inning kick-started by a Griffy Goyer lead-off double. After John Whaley earned a walk, catcher Braeden Allemann singled to centre field driving home Goyer to make it a 2-0 T-Birds lead.
Tyler Yorko’s second hit of the game was a triple to deep left field that scored a pair of runs before being sent home himself on a Nick Spillman sacrifice fly as UBC took a 5-0 lead after two.
Following up his six hits last weekend against OIT, UBC shortstop Kyle McComb hammered a lead-off triple in the fourth inning. After Mitch Robinson was hit by a pitch, Vinny Martin hit a triple of his own to score two more runs for the home-town ‘Birds who finished the game with eight hits and no errors.
Aidan Goddall relieved Noble for the final two innings allowing just a single hit while striking out three as UBC once again got terrific work from their pitching staff.
“(Noble’s) a gutsy kid and he went out and competed with what he had and he pitched phenomenal,” added Pritchett.
“He didn’t want to come out but his pitch count got up pretty high there and we let Aidan Goodall come in and threw the ball really well the last two innings.”
Zach Draper was tagged with the loss for the ‘Yotes allowing five UBC runs on six hits through two and a third innings. He was forced to leave the game after taking a line-drive to his left foot. He attempted to stay in the game but after a warm-up pitch he made his exit with Jake Eddy coming in from the bullpen.
Eddy pitched the rest of the way for the ‘Yotes allowing two runs on two hits with six strikeouts and no walks.