March 10, 2008

WNC Stays Even in Conference

Southern Idaho Takes Three of Four From Wildcats

After losing leads late in two games at College of Southern Idaho this weekend, Western Nevada College's Wildcats had to settle for one win and three losses against one of the Scenic West Athletic Conference's best teams.

"We got away from doing the things that made us successful in the past," Head Coach D. J. Whittemore said. "Our number one priority has been to throw strikes, but we gave away too many free bases. A close second in priorities is to play defense, and we played as poor a defense as we've played all year. When you don't do those things, you're not going to win a whole lot of ball games."

Errors plagued Western as the team was swept on Friday 3-2 and 9-4. Whittemore said pitcher Kyle Starratt did well and was hurt by poor defense in the first game. The Wildcats got on the board in the third with hits by Jerome Pena and Kevin Schlange. In the fourth, a single by Brian Barnett and an RBI double by David Banks staked the Wildcats a 2-0 lead that was erased in a big sixth inning by the Golden Eagles, who brought home three runs on three hits.

In Friday's second game CSI started quickly, scoring three unearned runs in the first inning and building a 7-0 lead. Although Josh Moody was able to strike out five in 3 2/3 innings, he was tagged for the loss.

Saturday's games resulted in a split with the Wildcats winning the opener 10-6 and losing the second 4-3 in extra innings.

One positive for the Wildcats is the fact that after playing two powerhouses, CSI and College of Southern Nevada, the 'cats are even in conference play at 4-4. More impressively, all of Western's games so far have been played on the road.

"Obviously there were some bright spots," Whittemore said. "We played much better Saturday, and we wound up losing three out of four, but we were two hits from winning three out of four. The weekend was not a total disaster, but we stubbed our toe a little bit in the conference race."

Pitcher Kyle Farrell was dominating in Saturday's first game, regrouping after giving up two runs in the first inning.

In the second game, the Wildcats tried to break a 2-2 tie with aggressive base running. Jerome Pena was thrown out at third trying to stretch a double and Brian Barnett was thrown out at home. CSI got two runs in the bottom of the tenth to win it.
Javy Perez took the loss.

Whittemore said he is looking forward to this weekend. "The best thing about baseball is that you get another crack at it. We get to play the number one team in the conference, Salt Lake, which is 8-0. I expect our guys will bring hardhats and lunch pails to work this week, and carry that approach to this weekend."

Western is headed to Salt Lake City for the Friday and Saturday games, before opening play at John L. Harvey Field in Carson City a week later. Plan now for the Wildcats' home openers on Friday/Saturday, March 21-22, against Colorado Northwestern Community College, at noon and 3 p.m. each day.

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