February 14, 2014

WNC's Strong Starting Pitching Continues

Riverside Evens Series with Wildcats

Western Nevada College took a one-run lead in the eighth inning, but Riverside rallied for a 4-3 baseball victory on Friday night in Riverside, Calif.

Pinch-hitter Paul Martinez tied the game with a run-scoring single in the eighth inning, and the Tigers won it when Jeremy Alderman’s first pitch on an attempted intentional walk with runners on third and second bases sailed to the backstop.

WNC (6-4) took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on Conor Harber’s RBI single and a RBI groundout by Tony Roque. Roque’s RBI double in the eighth inning put WNC ahead 3-2.

Christian Stolo started on the mound for the Wildcats, giving up eight hits and one earned run in 5 1/3 innings.

Harber had two of the Wildcats’ seven his.

Starting pitching is fueling WNC’s early season baseball success. The Wildcats received their sixth straight solid starting performance on Thursday night in a series-opening 5-4 victory over Riverside.

Freshman Max Karnos delivered a seven-inning winning effort against the Tigers, giving up seven hits and one earned run. He struck out four and walked one.

“He’s throwing the most strikes (on our staff) and throwing the most low strikes,” Whittemore said. “People are having a lot of trouble getting good contact off of him.”

It was the 14th-ranked Wildcats’ sixth victory in seven games after starting the season 0-2.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Riverside had the tying and winning runners on base when Greer struck out No. 3 hitter Nick Bruno on a high fastball, the 10th pitch of their confrontation, to end the game.

“It’s nice to have a sophomore to hand the ball to and nail down a close game on the road,” Whittemore said.

Greer picked up the save, working two innings and allowing three hits.

The development of Karnos, Stolo and Harber as starting pitchers has quickly defined where the Wildcats are going with their staff.

“It’s starting to become clear the roles of our pitching staff,” Whittemore said. “The guys who throw the most strikes are going to pitch the most.”

The Wildcats got two hits from Harber and Kody Reynolds.

“I was very impressed with our hitters because Riverside’s pitching didn’t disappoint,” Whittemore said. “We have a lot of confident hitters in our lineup.”

The Wildcats scored first in the opening frame when Joey Crunkilton mashed a triple and scored on a Harber base hit.

After Riverside pulled even with a run in the bottom of the first, the Wildcats went ahead for good, 2-1, on Rayne Raven’s RBI single. In the fourth, Roque came home with WNC’s third run when Reynolds was thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single into a double.

In the fifth, Crunkilton’s groundout plated Kyle Henderson to make the score 4-1. Jake Bennett’s sixth-inning double knocked in Connor Klein, putting WNC ahead 5-2.

Logan Griffin and Josh Clark were responsible for most of Riverside’s damage on offense, with five hits between them, including two RBI and a run scored.

The teams conclude their series at 1 p.m. Saturday.


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