T-Birds sweep doubleheader over Lewis-Clark State
By Jeff Sargeant
UBC Sports Media
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds (21-8, 11-5) got quality pitching and clutch hitting en route to a double header sweep of the visiting Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Warriors Friday afternoon at Thunderbird Park.
Connor Noble went the distance on the mound for the ‘Birds earning his fifth win of the season in a 6-5 game to kick start the weekend series while a three-run third inning was enough in Game 2 for UBC to earn a fifth straight win on home turf.
“We like T-Bird park, we like being at home, it’s always nice to play in your own park in front of your own fans, it’s a lot of fun playing here,” said Mitch Robinson who finished the day with four hits, two RBIs, and a run scored.
“We took two out of three from them in their park so they were definitely shooting for us this weekend, we knew it was going to be a big one so to get the first two is big for the team.”
The T-Birds got the bats going early to open up the five-game weekend series scoring a pair of runs in the first inning of game one. After Tyler Yorko and Austen Butler both earned a base hit, Robinson hit an RBI single. DH Riley Guntrip then grounded out, but Butler managed to score on the play with the ‘Birds carrying a 2-0 lead into the second.
The Warriors got on the board in the top of the fourth when Seaver Whalen crossed the plate on an Evan Douglas ground out.
The ‘Birds restored the two-run lead in the bottom half when Kyle McComb singled with the bases loaded allowing John Whaley to score after going in as a courtesy runner for catcher Braeden Allemann. Then with two down, Butler’s second hit of the game scored two more runs as UBC took a 5-1 lead after four.
Noble kept his strong start going as he forced Marten Pauwels to ground-out into a double play before striking out Raymond Pedrina as the UBC ace had thrown just 59 pitches through five full innings.
The Warriors cut back into the T-Birds’ lead in the top of the sixth when JJ Robinson hammered a solo home-run over the right-field fence. But UBC got the run right back when McComb hit his second RBI single of the game.
Lewis-Clark had a big eighth pulling within a single run of the ‘Birds. The rally was kick-started by a Pedrina lead-off double. Whalen then hit an RBI single bringing JJ Robinson to the plate who proceeded to hit his second home run of the game, this time a two-run shot to nearly the identical spot over the right field fence to make it a one-run game.
Noble came out to pitch the ninth and went three up, three down to earn the complete game win allowing just five hits while striking out four.
“He pitched really well,” said UBC head coach Chris Pritchett who was pleased with both of his starting pitchers Friday.
“With the exception of two pitches to their first basemen, (Noble) was lights out and there was just no way I was taking him out at the end of the game, he had plenty left and he’s such a competitor I knew he’d finish that one off.”
The Warriors started off the second half of the double-header with a bang as Whalen hit the ball deep to left field, barely clearing the fence for a two-run home run and an early lead.
The ‘Birds came through in the third, however, when Yorko hit a triple to deep right field. The outfielder was driven home by Butler who hit a double to the gap in left-centre to get UBC on the board. Robinson then tied the game with a single, his fourth hit of the afternoon, and the bats kept going. Catcher Mackenzie Parlow singled to left as Robinson scored the eventual game winning run as the ‘Birds took it 3-2.
“If we play clean baseball we’re going to give them a good run every time,” said Robinson.
“We’ve been fortunate enough in the games we’ve taken against them to play good, clean, fundamental baseball and not give them opportunities to hurt us.”
Niall Windeler went 6 2/3 innings on the mound for the Thunderbirds allowing just two runs on six hits with four strikeouts earning the win.
After Patrick van den Brink kept the Warriors off the board, Liam Stroud entered in the top of the ninth with one out and runners on the corners. But it took the reliever just one pitch to force Tyler McDowell into a game-ending double play.
“Any time you beat this team one out of two games has always traditionally been a decent day and to take both ends of the double header was really good,” added Pritchett.
The ‘Birds have now won three of four games so far this season against Lewis-Clark State as the two NAIA West Grouping rivals continue their series with another doubleheader Saturday afternoon. First pitch of Game 1 is set for 1 p.m. PT with the second scheduled for half an hour after the conclusion of the opener, both at Thunderbird Park.
123 456 789 R H E
Lewis-Clark State 000 101 030 -- 5 5 0
UBC 200 301 00X -- 6 12 0
W: NOBLE (5-0) L: HAMANN (4-1).
123 456 789 R H E
Lewis-Clark State 200 000 000 -- 2 9 0
UBC 003 000 00X -- 3 8 2
W: WINDELER (2-2) L: BROGDON (3-1) S: STROUD (2)