Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
HAPPY VALLEY, AZ – The Whittier College baseball team opened up their road trip to Arizona with two victories over Whitman (6-5) and Sul Ross State University (12-4).
Whittier now improves to 4-4, 1-2 SCIAC and looks for their fourth straight win against a very strong McMurry University program tomorrow, Saturday, February 18 beginning at 1:30pm.
Game 1 (Whitman – W, 6-5)
In Game 1, it turned out to be a come from behind victory as Taylor Fallon recorded his first victory of the season despite a very strong game from starter Austin Straus who went 4.0 innings giving up four runs (two earned) on four hits, while striking out a season high nine.
Whittier jumped on the board first with a run in the first and then added three more in the third behind a two out rally that included a Daniel Vidales single that drove in two and a Cory Goodchild double that drove in one. That put the Purple & Gold up 4-0 but Whitman didn't go away as they came back to put up five runs over the next two innings to take a one run lead, while driving Straus out of the game.
But in the 7th the Poets put the tying run across the plate after freshman Cody Martinez doubled driving in Andrew Vallejo. Then in the 8th, Whittier again put up another behind another two out rally sparked by Pete Mitchell who doubled and was later driven in by Josh Genzuk giving the Purple & Gold their second lead of the game.
In the ninth, Fallon came in to put Whitman down in order helping Whittier preserve the one run lead. Not to be overlooked was the pitching from senior Austin Nogueira who came in to relieve Straus in the fourth and pitched 3.0 innings giving up one run on five hits to go with two strikeouts.
P. Mitchell led the Poets at the plate finishing 3-4 with a run, while Martinez had a breakout game finishing 2-4 with a run and two RBI's.
Game 2 (Sul Ross State University – W, 12-4)
In Game 2, it started off as a contest as Sul Ross State managed a run in the first, while Whittier's offense was shut down in the first two innings. But that was short lived as the Purple & Gold erupted to score at least one run over the next seven innings of work.
Ryan Schwenn picked up his first win of the season and is now 1-2 after he pitched 7.0 innings giving up one run on five hits, while striking out four. In the third the Poets offense came alive as they took their first lead of the game 2-1 after a Vallejo triple and sac fly by Genzuk that drove in two.
But the Poets didn't stop there as they added a run in the next four innings. In the fourth Straus who pitched in game 1 played as the designated hitter and drove a ball to deep right putting the Poets up 3-1. He finished 2-4 with two runs and two RBI's.
After the Poets added three more runs over the next three innings to take a 6-1 lead into the 8th, Sul Ross added two attempting to get back into the game but it was a little too late as Whittier tacked on another four runs after a Vallejo double drove in Stephen Zavala, and Genzuk flied out bringing in Tyler Bogart, which was then followed by a Martinez fielder's choice that knocked in Vallejo.
But the Poets weren't done as they added another two runs in the 9th after a Richard Rios fielder's choice and a Straus single that put the game out of reach.
Vallejo again had a caliber game finishing 4-5 with three runs and two RBI's, while Goodchild, Straus, Zavala, and Willie Renard each collected two hits on the day.
Whittier now looks to win their fourth straight and has an upcoming schedule for this weekend that includes:
Saturday, February 18 vs. McMurry University (1:30pm)
Sunday, February 19 vs. Pacific Lutheran (9:00am)