April 13, 2009

CSN remains two games behind

Wildcats Still in First after Weekend Split

When the dust settled, Western Nevada College was still two games ahead in the Scenic West Athletic Conference after this weekend's games, but that doesn't begin to tell the highs and lows of emotions experienced in a four-game split with cross-state rival College of Southern Nevada.

Friday, the Wildcats cruised to a 10-4 victory in the first game of a doubleheader, and then squeezed out a 3-2, 10-inning win as the sun was setting behind John L. Harvey Field.

Western's big fourth inning in the first game was the difference. Daniel Zylstra started by reaching first on an error and stealing second and third. Eric Maupin was walked and a Coyote error allowed Zylstra to score. Catcher Jerome Pena's single loaded the bases and Lance Ray doubled, bringing in two runs. Brian Barnett then homered, scoring three more runs.

In the second game, it was a pitching duel between CSN's Egan Smith and Western's Kramer Champlin, who held the Coyotes scoreless for six innings. The victory notched Champlin's fifth win of the season against one loss. Champlin went to the mound in relief of Josh Moody, who gave up two runs in four innings.

Second baseman Mike Stiles clinched the victory in the 10th with an RBI-single up the middle. After Zylstra flied out, Garcia singled and Jay Skilton was sent in to pinch run. Skilton went to second on a Maupin single and scored on Stiles' hit. Stiles also helped out the cause with a great defensive play in the top of the ninth to throw out Robbie Garvey, one of the Coyote's fastest runners, at first.

The 'cats were unable to sustain their momentum Saturday, and gave up both ends of a double header, a 14-9 loss after WNC had tied it at nine, and a 6-0 shutout. The losses ended the nationally-ranked Wildcats' victory streak at 14 and reduced the four-game lead over CSN to two.

Western now stands at 23-5 in the Scenic West Athletic Conference and 29-11 overall. CSN is 21-7 and 29-17.

Western started strong with a Travis Feiner homer for a 2-0 first inning, but Southern Nevada seemed to put the game out of reach in the fourth with eight runs, dominating 9-2. The Wildcats struck back in their half of the fifth and tied the game at nine. Jerome Pena blasted a homer, driving in two Western players who had reached base on walks. After Barnett was forced home on a walk, Cory Raymond's double drove in two more runs.

However, the Coyotes were able to come back with four runs in the sixth and one in the seventh for the 14-9 final score. Six Wildcat pitchers tried to stem the tide against the Coyotes. Pitcher Kyle Starratt started the game and Logan Odom took the loss.
In the nightcap, the Wildcats were frustrated at the plate and unable to mount any kind of offensive threat. David Carroll pitched seven innings and was tagged for the loss.

The Wildcats hope to turn things around for this weekend's home games against College of Southern Idaho Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18. Western hosts Salt Lake Community College the following weekend, and wraps up the season against Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely.

Post-season play begins May 6 at a location to be determined.


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