Eight In The Eighth Gives Wolves Comeback Victory
Garrett Anderson recorded two RBIs and a run in the Wolves' 13-7 win over Central Washington.
Garrett Anderson recorded two RBIs and a run in the Wolves' 13-7 win over Central Washington.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Western Oregon erased a 7-1 deficit with the help of an eight-run eighth inning to advance to the GNAC Baseball Championships final with a 13-7 win over Central Washington on Thursday at Porter Park.

The Wolves tallied 14 hits in the victory and 13 of them were singles with the lone extra-base hit coming from Torreahno Sweet to jumpstart the comeback. Western Oregon put two runs on the board in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh before completing the comeback with an eight-run eighth inning.

Alex Roth earned the win for WOU in relief, tossing four hitless innings in relief with nine strikeouts to improve to 3-0 on the season. Roth was one strikeout shy of the all-time GNAC Championships strikeouts record which was set by his teammate Cam Walker in the previous game.

Central Washington (30-22) will go on to play Northwest Nazarene at 7:45 p.m. for a spot on the championship game. Western Oregon (30-15) will face the winner at noon on Friday.

Sweet’s double into left-center field scored Joey Crunkilton and then Garrett Anderson drove in Sweet to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 7-3. Western Oregon added two more in the seventh inning with an RBI-single by Justin Wakem. Sweet, who had reached on a single earlier in the inning, also came in to score on a wild pitch to make the score 7-5.

The Wolves got the eighth inning started with a pair of singles followed by consecutive walks when Sweet picked up his third base-knock of the game to tie the game at 7-7. Wakem gave the Wolves the lead for good with a two-RBI single into left-center field, finishing the game 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a run. Western Oregon scored four more with a hit by pitch, two-RBI single by Brock Pradere and sacrifice fly.

In the top of the first inning, WOU grabbed the first lead with a series of hits, resulting in an RBI base-hit by Martinez. Central Washington starting pitcher Mackenzie Gaul settled in after that, putting four consecutive zeroes on the board. The GNAC Pitcher of the Year threw 5.2 innings and struck out four batters and took a no-decision.

While Gaul held down the WOU offense, the Central Washington bats gave the Wildcats a strong lead. The Wildcats tallied nine hits with five going for extra bases, including a home run by Conor Plaisance. First Team All-GNAC selection Jake Levin drove in the Wildcats’ first run with an RBI-single before Plaisances blast plated two more in the bottom of the first inning.

The Wildcats’ lead snowballed in the third inning with Levin hitting a double down the left-field line to drive in a run and take a 4-1 lead. Plaisance added a third RBI to his tally with a productive groundout. The Wildcats’ two other runs both came on singles by James Smith III, who hit it through the left side and reached on a bunt single, driving in runs both times for a 7-1 lead.

Central Washington will need to win its next three games to win its first GNAC Championships title since 2014.