Event Date

May 7, 2008

Finish Season as SWAC Runner-up

Wildcats Look Forward to Conference Tournament

The Western Nevada Wildcats swept the College of Eastern Utah this weekend, (May 2-3) and move on to tournament play at Henderson this week for the Scenic West Athletic Conference postseason championship. College of Southern Nevada hosts the tournament by virtue of winning the regular season title with a record of 30-10. Western ended the regular season just one game behind at 29-11.

CSN and Western receive first round byes as the top two teams, and begin play Thursday in double elimination.

"We finished the season on a high note and we're going into the post-season with a lot of confidence," Western Coach DJ Whittemore said. "However, that confidence is tempered by the fact we have to go through the best teams. We're lined up to face two of the best starting pitchers in the conference. If we play Salt Lake, we think we'll face Adam Gunn. If we're fortunate to win, we'll likely go against Taylor Cole at CSN or Justin Smith from Southern Idaho.

Western's pitching has been sterling all year, and it was no different Friday as the 'cats blanked Eastern Utah 4-0 and 6-0 on the strong arms of starting pitchers Kyle Starratt and Josh Moody.

Eastern's Riley Gordon held Western at bay in the opening game Friday until they broke through in the fifth. Cliff Shepard and Logan Parsley singled. A passed ball and an RBI double started the scoring, and a Kyle Gutchewsky single and Brian Barnett RBI double made it 4-0.

Starratt allowed only two hits over six innings while striking out three and walking one. Javy Perez came on in relief and pitched a scoreless seventh inning, striking out two in the process.

In the second game, Moody held the visitors scoreless for 6 2/3 innings, but Eastern Utah was again able to baffle the Western hitters for several innings as Scott Kappas allowed one unearned run through five. In the seventh, with reliever Jose Barajas on the mound, Eastern loaded the bases, but couldn't score a run.

Western was clinging to a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh when WNC broke the game open with four runs. Barnett and Marshall Kennebrew hit two-run doubles to make it 5-0. Kennebrew swung a hot bat and had three hits on the day.

Davis Banks doubled and scored on Brett Moravec's single in the eighth, making it 6-0, which became the final.

Western was able to continue its shutout string with a 5-0 blanking on Saturday. Kyle Farrell was the winning pitcher, striking out five and allowing just one hit in five innings. Western got on the scoreboard early with Brian Barnett leading off the first with a double and scoring on Jerome Pena's sacrifice fly.

Barnett seemed to have Eastern's number as he lofted a two-run home run in the third, driving home Kutchewsky. Home runs are fairly rare in the Scenic West as it is a wooden bat league, but it was Barnett's tenth home run of the season and his ninth in conference play. Lance Ray followed with an even bigger blast off the scoreboard in right center field. Western led the league with 21 homers this year.

After Ray's homer, Pena doubled and scored on Kennebrew's double to make it 5-0.

Western's eight sophomores were honored between games on Saturday, and then it was back to business.

Josh Creveling pitched four scoreless innings in the second game, and Barnett gave him a lead to work with by hitting a double in the first and scoring on a Parsley single.

Jordon Blanchard pitched a scoreless fifth and Jose Barajas came on in the sixth. A bloop single and pitch that got away gave Eastern Utah a 2-1 lead, but Western responded to the challenge with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth. Chuck Howard, Gutchewsky, Pena, Cliff Shepard and Parsley all contributed to the hitting explosion to make it 8-2.

Barajas closed out the game, pitching the last inning and a third, striking out four. Shepard, Gutchewsky and Parsley each had two hits on the day.

The winner of this week's postseason tournament in Henderson will advance to the district tournament to be played in Arizona. The district winner earns the right to play in the National Junior College World Series.

Western wouldn't mind repeating some of last year's glory when the team won the Region 18 Championship and the Western District Championship and made a trip to the NJCAA World Series. The Wildcats won 10 consecutive post-season games on the road and finished ranked number five nationally by winning two games at the series.

Press Release: May 5, 2008

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