Central drops final home games to Wolves, 9-0, 5-3
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By JARYD CLINE, staff reporter
Central Washington University baseball dropped the final two home games of the year against Western Oregon, losing 9-0 and 5-3 in their doubleheader. The Wildcats (28-22, 19-13 GNAC) end their regular season at No. 2 in the GNAC.
The WOU pitching staff wreaked havoc on the Wildcat batters throughout the series, allowing just 11 hits over the final two games.
“A lot of those guys were a little higher velocity through the whole staff and they kept the ball down and did a pretty good job on us,” senior designated hitter Kyle Sani said.
WOU pitcher A.J. Burke shut out the Wildcat hitters for just the fourth time this season, leading the Wolves to a 9-0 victory in Game 1. The last time the Wildcats failed to score a run was in late March, which was against Burke on the mound.
“They have good arms and we haven’t seen that kind of velocity in a while,” head coach Desi Storey said. “They had a lot of success, Burke threw well.”
The Wildcats managed just four hits against Burke, who also struck out nine Wildcats.
“We didn’t hit the ball like we’re capable,” Stoery said.
Offensively, WOU jumped all over the Wildcat pitching early, scoring at least one run in each of the first four innings. They added four more in the seventh inning. Zero Wildcats recorded more than one hit throughout the game as the team had their lowest hit total since the first week of the season.
Central’s batters showed more life in the second game, going back and forth with the Wolves up until the last inning, losing 5-3. Sani started the Wildcats off early, scoring in shortstop Justen Weigel after he singled and advanced to third himself.
Wildcat pitcher Joe Arlt shut WOU down until the fourth inning when a few errors allowed Western to tie the game at 1-1. Central got back on top again after Sani singled and again brought in Weigel. However, the Wolves scored two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings and didn’t allow Central to answer.
Sani finished the game 2-4 with 2 RBI’s while catcher Sam Williams went 1-1 with a pinch hit RBI single in the sixth. Weigel went 2-3 with two runs and also had a couple of nifty plays in the field.
Central still locked up the No. 2 seed for the GNAC tournament, and the Wildcats will battle Montana State Billings University on Thursday.
“There was a lot of close games,” junior right fielder Ethan Sterkel said. “We battled pretty hard but didn’t have the outcome we wanted to, but luckily we have the GNAC tournament coming up.”