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Wolves Win Second-Straight Series, Team of the Week
Cody Poznanski congratulates Garret Harpole after scoring one of his eight runs this weekend against Central Washington.
Cody Poznanski congratulates Garret Harpole after scoring one of his eight runs this weekend against Central Washington.

Monday, March 9, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. - After taking the first series in conference play two weeks ago, the Western Oregon baseball team picked up another series win last week against preseason favorite Central Washington which earned the Wolves Red Lion Hotels Team of the Week honors.

Eight players recorded an RBI and nine scored at least once in the 3-1 series win over the Wildcats.

The Wolves, winners of eight of their past 11 games, improved to 6-2 in conference play. WOU and Northwest Nazarene are currently tied for the best record in the GNAC.

In their first home game of the season, the Wolves didn’t get much going offensively as the Wildcats took the series opener 4-1.

The rest of the weekend was owned by Western Oregon.

With the reigning GNAC Pitcher of the Year on the hill for the Wildcats, the Wolves strung together a seven-run third inning. After second baseman Jacob Whisler and shortstop Marcus Hinkle were able to reach base to start off the inning, the next four batters recorded RBI’s with three singles and a double as the home team jumped out to a 5-3 lead.

GNAC Player of the Week Garret Harpole doubled down the left field line to score another run. The senior scored later in the inning to bring the Wolves to a 7-3 lead by the end of the third.

“We came in with a good approach,” Western Oregon head coach Kellen Walker said. “We didn’t have immediate results, but we saw the plate well stuck with it.”

This score ended up holding true for the final as WOU pitcher Jesse Pratt was able to finish a complete game, allowing three runs in seven innings of work while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

Western Oregon kept the offense rolling the next day as it trounced the Wildcats 17-6 in game three.

Hinkle opened the inning with a single and scored during the next at-bat after an Austin Hamilton double to left field. After loading the bases and walking in a run, the Wildcats pulled their starting pitcher after not recording an out. Harpole, the first batter after the pitching change, singled up the middle to score two more while Cody Poznanki did the same two batters later.

Hamilton, who doubled in his first at-bat, added two more RBI’s in the same inning after smashing a triple to center field. The Wolves totaled eight runs by the end of the first.

The Wolves recorded their second triple of the game after Harpole cleared the bases in the bottom of the seventh, picking up his fourth, fifth and sixth RBI’s of the morning.

“He’s having confident and complete at-bats,” Walker said of Harpole. “He was getting himself in positive counts and taking advantage of it.”

The last game of the series featured another strong performance from the mound as Houston Samuel pitched six and two-thirds for the 5-3 win. CWU had the second-ranked offense in the conference heading into the game and Houston shut them down for the most part, striking out three batters while allowing only six hits.

The junior right-hander almost recorded his first complete game of the year, but a two-run single in the top of the seventh pulled him from the game. Pitcher Jacob Storedahl came in to finish the job and earn his first save of the year.

On the weekend the Wolves outscored the Wildcats 30 to 16 while hitting .357, including 12 extra-base hits.

While WOU’s batting has been providing plenty of run support, the Wolves pitching has come through for them at this point of the season. Wolves pitchers have allowed four runs or more in only one of their last nine games.

“We have found our roles,” Walker said about his pitching staff. “The guys have been preparing very well with coach (Mike) McInerney during the week and have shown quality improvement each and every pitch.”

Western Oregon will stay home for the second straight week as it plays the GNAC's top offensive team, Montana State Billings, in a four-game series Friday and Saturday.

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