Williams Leads Wildcats to Win, Eliminates Saints
Play Video Wildcat right hander Brandon Williams threw his second 9-inning shutout of the season to defeat the Saints 2-0.
Wildcat right hander Brandon Williams threw his second 9-inning shutout of the season to defeat the Saints 2-0.

Friday, May 9, 2014

MONMOUTH, Ore. – Round three of a pitching duel between Brandon Williams and Josh Moss went to the former, as the Central Washington Wildcats eliminated Saint Martin’s from the GNAC Baseball Championships with a 2-0 win Friday afternoon at the Western Oregon baseball field. 

The two pitchers had previously met twice this season, each throwing complete games on both occasions and each winning one game. Williams was the victor with a 9-strikeout, two-hit shutout in Ellensburg, while Moss collected a 3-1 victory with no walks in a 7-inning complete game in Lacey last weekend.

This time, Williams struck out eight and allowed seven hits and one walk, earning his ninth victory and second 9-inning shutout of the season.

Moss was excellent as well, allowing one walk and no earned runs with six strikeouts in his complete game effort.

The Wildcats (29-18) got on the board early, plating a pair of runs in the first inning. Cory Welch led off the bottom of the frame with a base hit to right, and a subsequent base hit by Ethan Sterkel plated a pair of runs.

The Saints (18-30) threatened in the top of the second, as Chandler Tracy led off with a double and advanced to third on a single by Blake Lord. Williams pitched out of the jam however, coaxing a ground out off the bat of Luke Besel to end the inning and strand the runners.

Moss settled into a groove through the middle innings, retiring 11 of 12 batters between the first and fourth. 

Williams handled pressure situations well, as the Saints placed runners on base in the second, third and fourth innings to no avail.

Kaelen Hirashiki singled with two outs in the fifth inning, mirroring his effort in the third inning as he promptly stole second base. The Saints failed to score the runner however, as the Wildcats took the 2-0 advantage into the bottom of the fifth. 

The Wildcats put a runner on with one out in the form of a base hit by Scott Stone, but a tremendous diving play by Saint third baseman Blake Lord on a sharp line drive ended the inning.

Cory Welch sent a ground ball up the middle in the top of the sixth, but Hirashiki closed quickly and threw on the run to retire the Wildcats’ leadoff hitter. Two more excellent defensive plays erased a scoring opportunity for CWU and kept the deficit to 2-0.

Making a heads up play on a sharp ground ball in the hole was Larsen, who tossed the ball to Lord at third to cut down the CWU base runner. Hirashiki received another test on a sharp ground ball to his left on the next play, handling it cleanly and throwing to Dodd at first to end the inning.

Moss pitched out of a jam in the seventh inning after allowing a leadoff single to Ben Fitzhugh. After a sacrifice bunt, the junior struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Dodd notched a one-out single in the top of the eighth, but the Saints once again failed to gain momentum as the senior first baseman was left stranded.

SMU placed a runner on in the ninth by virtue of a walk, but Williams finished the complete game with a strikeout.