Baseball: Western Oregon, Central Washington Split Twinbill
Tyler Roberts became the first pitcher to shutout Western Oregon in Monmouth since 2007.
Tyler Roberts became the first pitcher to shutout Western Oregon in Monmouth since 2007.

Friday, March 29, 2013

MONMOUTH, Ore. - Round 1 was a split decision.

Western Oregon and Central Washington opened their four-game series Friday - for first place at the midway point of the season  - splitting a doubleheader at the WOU Baseball Field. 

The Wolves built a 5-0 lead after six innings on the way to a 6-4 victory in the opener. 

Central, however, bounced back to win the second game 3-0 as Tyler Roberts became the first pitcher to blank WOU at Monmouth in nearly six years.

The split left the Wolves (11-3) one game ahead of the Wildcats (10-4) in the conference standings.  Both teams are 16-12 overall.

WOU's Spenser Watkins allowed just five hits and two runs in the opener earning his fifth win of the season against three losses.  Watkins was matched up against CWU ace Skye Adams. 

But Adams had to leave the game in the first inning because of an injury.  He was charged with just one run but took the loss when CWU was unable to pull even the rest of the game.

Western Oregon banged out 14 hits - its second highest total of the season - including three by leadoff hitter Chris Bradshaw. who doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Blake Miller in the first. 

WOU added a run in the third on a sacrifice bunt, then scored three runs in the sixth, one on a leadoff home run by Garrett Harpole for a 5-0 lead.

CWU rallied for two runs in the seventh and two in the eighth, the latter two on a double by shortstop Joel Johnson, and had the tying runs on base in the ninth before closer Kody Stone got left fielder Kramer Ferrell, the conference's leading hitter (.381), to ground out to end the game and earn his eighth save. 

In addition to Bradshaw, catcher Will Chavarria led WOU with three hits each, while Miller and Daniel McNabb had two apiece.  Kasey Bielec, Ferrell and Justin Peterson had two each for Central.

In the second game, Roberts, who threw just 95 pitches, was in complete command, not allowing a runner past first base until the fifth.  Just one batter reached third and that came on a three-base error to start the sixth.

Roberts, however, got out of the inning unscathed on a line out and two ground outs and then finished off his two-hit shutout in the seventh with his seventh strikeout, a ground out and a fly out earning his second win of the season. 

He is the first pitcher to blank WOU at Monmouth since CWU's Jordan Moore beat the Wolves 6-0 on Apr. 23, 2007.

CWU scored its runs in the third, fourth and fifth using both speed and power. 

In the third, Johnson walked, stole second and then scored on a two-out single by third baseman Marc Garza.  In the fourth, DH Kyle Sani led off with his  seventh home run of the season.  That's the second most in the conference.

Then in the fifth, Johnson singled, stole his sixth base of the season and once again came around on a clutch two-out hit by Garza, his third of the game.  Sani had two of CWU's other three hits.  Ferrell was 0 for 2 as his GNAC season-best hitting streak ended at 14 games.

The teams complete the four-game series Saturday at noon with another doubleheader. 

Northwest Nazarene 8-8, Saint Martin's 7-7

Northwest Nazarene twice rallied from big deficits to defeat Saint Martin's by identical 8-7 scores (Game 1 / Game 2) in a doubleheader at Vail Field in Nampa.

The Crusaders (12-15, 6-8) trailed 6-2 in the opener before scoring five runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.  Shortstop Jon Matos had a three-run triple and then scored on a single by Fernando Robles in the seventh.  Greg Hata homered in the eighth to provide what turned out to be the eventual winning run.

NNU's late heroics ruined a five-hit performance by Saint second baseman Bobby Twedt, who had three doubles and two singles and drove in three runs.  SMU doubled NNU's hit total (18-9), but left nine more runners on base (16-7). 

The Crusaders' second-game win was even more dramatic. Trailing 7-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, NNU struck for seven runs on five hits, including a pair of two-run home runs by third baseman Kaleb DeHaas and pinch-hitter Tate Glasgow.

Catcher Jamie Mitchell had three hits to lead the Crusaders' 13-hit attack.  Catcher Chandler Tracy, Twedt and center fielder Lucas Besel had two each for the Saints (3-25, 1-13), who sustained their 13th consecutive loss.  Both Besel and Tracy homered.