TUCSON, Ariz.— The Whitman College baseball team started the 2020 season off in Tucson, Arizona on Friday and Saturday with three games. On Friday, they took on California Lutheran University while they had a double-header on Saturday with Chapman University and the University of Redlands.
In a six-inning shortened game due to a faulty sprinkler system, the Whitman College baseball team dropped its season opener 2-0 to Cal Lutheran on Day 1 of the Arizona Cactus Classic played at the Kino Sports Complex.
With Cal Lutheran ahead by two runs in the top of the seventh, the sprinkler system came on for an extended period of time. The officials deemed the field unplayable after the sprinklers had stopped and, with six completed innings in the books, the win was given to the Kingsman (2-0).
Eric Ma (0-1) went a full six innings before being spelled for Collin Anderson to start the seventh. He found himself pitching with runners in scoring position in nearly every inning but closed with a strong 1-2-3, two-strikeout sixth inning. He gave up two runs on four hits with six strikeouts in his six innings of work.
Troy Frazier (1-0) struck out 11 Whitman (0-1) hitters in earning the win for the Kingsman. He allowed only two hits which came in the form of singles in the fifth and sixth innings by Ben Parker and Matthew Sox, respectively.
All the scoring came in the top half of the third inning. After giving up a leadoff hit to Harrison Dunkel (2 H, 1 R), Ma walked the next two hitters, with a wild pitch in between, to load the bases with no outs. He was able to minimize the potential damage when he forced Ryan Probst into a 6-4-3 double play. Dunkel scored on the play and Tanner Wright scored from third on a wild pitch one batter later.
Next, Kevin Nakamura delivered a three-run homer in the first inning, but it came in a loss as the Whitman College baseball team fell to Chapman 7-6 to open Day 2 of the Cactus Classic played at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
In a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament first round matchup, Chapman (3-0) scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth to claim the walkoff win. Miguel Cedeno advanced to third on a throwing error, then one batter later, scampered home after Dexter Aichele's pitch in the dirt ricocheted too far for Whitman (0-2) catcher Anthony Nevoso to make a play.
Whitman starters Travis Craven tossed six complete innings but did not factor into the decision after giving up six runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Aichele (0-1) was tagged with the loss in two and one-third innings of solid relief work. He gave up just the one unearned run while striking out five Chapman hitters in his first collegiate outing.
Nakamura led the Blues with two hits, one run and three RBI including a double and the first-inning homerun. Bret Shimabuku batted 3-5 with one run and two RBI for the Panthers. Mitchell Briggs was the pitcher of record after giving up two hits in two scoreless innings of relief work.
Brett Williams (2 H, 2 R) opened the game with a base hit before stealing second to give the Blues (0-2) early action on the basepaths. Starter Cody Turner fanned both Jerick Nomura and Matthew Sox for his first two outs but hit David Johnson to put runners on first and second. Nakamura took full advantage of his opportunity on the next at bat, crushing a hanging curveball over the left field fence to put the Blues up 3-0.
Craven retired the side in his half of the first but surrendered six big runs one inning later. Shimabuku ripped a two-run triple over the head of Drew Vannaman in centerfield to tie up the game, then three hitters later Mack Cheli doubled home another pair of runs to give the Panthers the lead.
Craven settled in and kept the Panthers scoreless for the remainder of his outing. Meanwhile, the Blues chipped away at the lead and tied the game up with a run in the sixth inning. Vannaman drove a single up the middle to score Ben Parker and tie the score.
Next, Whitman rounded out the day with a game against Redlands. Whitman looked to be making a comeback, but it fell short as Redland won 9-7.
The first inning ended quickly as both teams went 0-3 at bat.
The Redlands struck first as they picked up three runs in the second on only two earned runs. Whitman could not respond as two more batters struck out.
Redlands added another run as J. Advincula hit a triple then scored on a sacrifice fly.
Leo Rivera got on the board first for Whitman in the third after he also tripled. Drew Vannaman hit a single which drove Rivera in just two at bats later.
Redlands led Whitman 4-1 after three innings.
Redlands added three more runs in the fourth. With two outs, Jake Larson got replaced by Collin Anderson who made quick work of his first batter.
David Johnson started a three run fourth inning for Whitman on a triple. Vannaman got caught trying to steal second base for the third out of the fourth.
Redlands still led 7-4 after the fourth inning.
Anderson got Whitman out of a tight situation as a Redlands running advanced to third on an error with one out in the fifth inning. Anderson struck out the next two batters.
Whitman responded with Kevin Nakamura hitting a double which drove in Johnson and Matthew Sox to score to put Whitman only down 7-6 entering the sixth inning.
Both teams registered a hit in the sixth despite a relatively clean inning.
Redlands doubled their lead as their first batter of the seventh hit a solo homer.
After a pithing change which proved to be costly, Johnson doubled to send Jerick Nomura home from third base.
Redlands made a second pitching change to see out the seventh as they led 8-7.
Brock Williams came in to pitch for Anderson in the eighth. Williams gave up a run before getting switched out for Tristan Kalnins.
Whitman registered one hit in the bottom of the eighth with Redlands leading 9-7.
Both teams walked a runner in the ninth inning as Redlands saw out the game.
Whitman will play against California Lutheran again today with a 9 a.m. MT start. That will be 8 a.m. PT.
California Lutheran 2, Whitman 0
Frazier and Nevoso, Ma and Parks.
HR — none.
Hits — Whitman (2): Sox, Parker; Cal Lutheran (4): Dunkel 2, Carrillo, Scalzo.
Chapman 7, Whitman 6.
Craven, Aichele (7) and Nevoso; Turner, Niemann (5), Farmer (7), Briggs (8) and Gregersen.
HR — Whitman (Nakamura).
Hits — Whitman 9: William 2, Nakamura 2, Normura 1, Sox 1, Conder 1, Nevoso 1, Vannaman 1; Chapman 12: Shimabuku 3, Cebedo 2, Wong 2, Littwin 1, Grgersen 1, Cheli 1, Foard 1, Joye 1.
Redlands 9, Whitman 7
Rueter, Compton (7), Bridges (7.1) and Diaz; Larson, Anderson (3.2), Bro. William (8), Kalnins (8.1) and Nakamura.
HITS — Redlands 14: Kirkland 3, Walsh 2, Hardin 2, Acosta 2, Advincula 2, Diaz 1, Smith 1; Whitman 12: Johnson 3, Conder 2, Rivera 2, Bre. William 1, Sox 1, Nakamura 1, Supnet 1, Vannaman 1.