PARKLAND, Wash. - Senior ace Dan Scheibe threw the first nine-inning no-hitter by a Whitworth pitcher in the metal bat era to forever trademark the Pirates' debut in the inaugural Northwest Conference Tournament, a 2-0 win over Linfield on Friday at PLU Field.
Third-seeded Whitworth (26-13) will face top-seeded Pacific Lutheran (27-9) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The winner will advance to Sunday's championship while the loser will play later on Saturday in the double-elimination tournament, facing the winner of No. 2 Linfield (27-11) and No. 4 George Fox (17-22). The Wildcats and Bruins face off in a loser-out contest at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
A pair of early runs proved to be all the Pirates would need to upend the Wildcats as only four Linfield batters reached safely against Scheibe.
Eric Lawson reached on an error in the first inning before Scheibe proceeded to retire the next 19 Wildcats he faced, including eight via strikeout. Linfield's Jo Carroll broke the streak of retired batters when he was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the eighth inning and Brady Rediger followed with a one-out walk. But Scheibe then recorded his ninth strikeout of the game before a groundout ended the threat.
Linfield's Finn McMichael walked to open the bottom of the ninth inning but a groundout followed by two strikeouts ended the game, sparking an on-field celebration from the Pirate players.
Scheibe's no-hitter was the first by a Whitworth pitcher since former Pirate Matt Squires no-hit George Fox in a seven-inning game on April 7, 2001.
Whitworth took the lead in the second inning after Jeremy Druffel hit a leadoff double to right-center field and Joel Condreay followed with a single to left field, putting runners on first and third with no outs. Linfield starter Chris Haddeland induced a groundout before Nick Motsinger ripped an RBI single to right field, scoring Druffel. Linfield escaped further damage, picking off Motsinger before a groundout ended the frame.
The Pirates doubled their lead in the fifth inning as Matthew Nelson delivered an RBI double to right-center field, scoring Casey Isa. Isa had singled up the middle to begin the frame and advanced into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt from Skyler Lookabill.
Scheibe (9-2), who entered the week with the second-most strikeouts at the NCAA Division III level this season, began the game with 295 career strikeouts and fanned 11 Wildcats to surpass 300 for his career. He recorded a double-digit strikeout total for the fifth time in 2015 while tossing his first complete game of the year.
Haddeland (7-2), the two-time D3Baseball.com National Pitcher of the Year, had another strong outing but came out on the losing end in the pitchers' duel. He allowed two earned runs on nine hits, walking three and striking out four.
Condreay finished 4 for 4 and made a strong defensive play in the seventh inning when he charged a slow-rolling ground ball at shortstop and threw on the run to an outstretched Thomas Wakem at first base, just beating the Linfield runner to keep the no-hitter intact.
Wakem finished 2 for 3 with a walk while Nelson was 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.