UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash.—Baseball great Ernie Banks is famous for his doubleheader quote "Let's play two!" Well, two wasn't quite good enough for the Puget Sound Loggers and the Whitworth Pirates Sunday as the teams finished three games, playing six innings of a contest continued from yesterday, all nine innings of the middle game, and finished an eight-inning nightcap at Curtis High School in University Place, Wash.
Game 1: Whitworth 9, Puget Sound 3 (continued from 3/8)
When play started from the point it ended yesterday, the Loggers held a 2-1 advantage going into the top of the fourth inning. Whitworth took the lead with four runs on five hits in the top of the fifth, at one point getting seven straight players on base and stringing together three consecutive scoring singles. Connor Savage knocked in a run in the bottom of the frame to soften the blow with an RBI single, plating Kaulana Smith in the process. Savage's base knock brought the score to 5-3 Whitworth.
Unfortunately for the Loggers, the Pirates scored one more in the top of the eighth and three in the top of the ninth to run away with the 9-3 decision. The Loggers threatened, however, in both the eighth and ninth innings. In the eighth, Lucas Stone ripped a leadoff double and Nathan Backes walked to put two on with nobody out, but the next three batters made outs for Puget Sound to end the threat.
Both Savage and Nickolas Alarcio tallied two hits apiece for the Loggers in the first game of the series, and the other Loggers spread five others around. Starting pitcher Steve Wagar pitched 4.2 innings – all three of yesterday's innings and the first 1.2 on Sunday – while allowing four runs on five hits, but Wagar also fanned seven to match a season high in strikeouts. Whitworth's Michael Renner got the win in game one and Taylor Isadore registered a three-inning save.
Game 2: Puget Sound 9, Whitworth 5
The second game of the day started out a bit slow with only one run coming in the first six innings. That run came off the bat of Nick Funyak, who knocked in Jeff Walton for a run in the bottom of the third. Things became a bit more interesting in the seventh when Whitworth briefly took a 2-1 lead thanks to two RBIs, one from Garrett Hughes and the other from Matthew Miller.
The Loggers unleashed the floodgates in their portion of the frame, sending 12 batters to the plate and tallying eight runs on six hits and two Pirate errors. Backes started off the inning with a home run, the Loggers' first of the year, and Walton continued it with a double to bring in Alex Sierra. Five of the next six Loggers to bat reached base, bringing up Sierra for his first at bat of the game after he entered earlier in the frame as a pinch runner for Christian Carter. Sierra also ripped a double, scoring both Backes and Alarcio in the process. After the offensive explosion, the Loggers led 9-2 with two innings to play.
Whitworth got two back in the top of the eighth, but the Loggers' seventh inning outburst proved more than enough to clinch the 9-4 victory. Funyak led the squad with three hits in the game, and both he and Sierra tallied two RBIs as well. Stone, the starter, got the win after going 7.0 innings while allowing two runs on five hits and strikeout out four. Cory Mack suffered the loss for the Pirates.
Game 3: Whitworth 2, Puget Sound 1 (Final - 8 innings)
There was not nearly as long of a wait for runs in the third and final game of the day as Whitworth scored two in the top half of the first inning. Joshua Davis grounded out for one RBI and Jeremy Druffel singled in the other Pirate score in the inning.
Puget Sound got its sole run of the contest in the bottom of the second. Funyak singled in the second at bat, then he advanced by another base knock by Walton. Two batters later, Smith hit the ball at Pirate third baseman Paul Miller, who committed an error on the play and allowed Smith to reach first and Funyak to score.
In the remaining six innings, the Loggers would leave the bases juiced twice, both in the bottom of the third and bottom of the eighth. In the eighth, Backes led the inning by reaching first on an error and pinch hitter Layne Croney walked to get runners on first and second with now outs. After Funyak popped out, Walton was walked to load the bases. Unfortunately the next to Logger batters made outs to end the game. After the Logger eighth, the game was called due to darkness. Since the teams made it past the halfway point in the fifth inning, the contest was considered final.
In game three, Puget Sound saw solid pitching efforts from all three hurlers. Collin Maier threw 4.0 innings in the start, allowing just three hits and striking out three en route to the loss. David Torigoe and Kian Kurokawa combined to throw four innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits between them. For Whitworth, starter Spencer Ansett got the win after going 5.1 innings and Jason Renner threw 2.2 hitless frames for the save.
"I am incredibly proud of the team's constant energy and high spirits on a long day," said Puget Sound head coach Brian Billings. "They played tough all day nearly got two wins out of it."
The Loggers earn a bit of much-needed rest as they don't have an official game for nine days. They face Thompson Rivers March 15-16 for a three-game exhibition series, and their next game that counts in the standings is Tuesday, March 18 at Saint Martin's. That contest starts at 3:00 p.m. on the campus of Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Wash.