GEORGETOWN, Texas - The Whitworth baseball team broke open a tight game with a five-run seventh inning before holding on for a 7-6 victory over Southwestern during the first day of the Central Texas Tournament on Friday afternoon.
The Whitworth Pirates (5-0) continued their strong start to the season and left the Southwestern Pirates (0-4) still in search of their first 2016 win.
Whitworth trailed 3-1 entering the seventh inning, but two hits and five Whitworth batters hit by pitches fueled the comeback rally in the frame. Jeremy Druffel was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and stole second before scoring on a double from Matthew Nelson as Whitworth quickly cut the Southwestern lead to 3-2.
Nelson then reached third base on a groundout before Jacob Yamane and Zach Thibault each reached via hit by pitches to load the bases. An infield fly brought Southwestern within an out of escaping the inning with a lead, but two more Washington Pirates were then hit by pitches for a 4-3 Whitworth advantage. Daniel Casanova, the ninth Whitworth batter to the plate in the frame, singled home two more runs for a 6-3 lead before Southwestern could halt the rally.
The lead was extended to 7-3 during the eighth inning when Joel Condreay reached on an infield single and scored JT Phelan. Phelan had reached via a fielder's choice and advanced to third base following another batter hit by a pitch and a wild pitch.
The Texas Pirates threatened with a late comeback following a single and a batter hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Consecutive Whitworth throwing errors with two outs plated three runs before a foul out to right field ended the game.
Southwestern had jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Consecutive singles began the game and a sacrifice bunt advanced both runners. A third single by Thomas O'Brien scored one run but Whitworth avoided further damage after Southwestern loaded the bases with a 1-2-3 double play.
Whitworth tied the game at 1-1 in the sixth inning by taking advantage of a Southwestern miscue. Yamane singled with one out, reached second on a wild pitch and later advanced to third base with a fielder's choice. Whitworth loaded the bases and Yamane scored when Garrett Hughes reached with an error by the Southwestern third baseman.
Southwestern had answered in the bottom half of the sixth, pushing two runs across the plate by way of three hits and an error for a 3-1 lead. Both runs scored on a two-run single by Cole Kelly that was aided by an error in the outfield.
Nelson was 3 for 6 with a run scored and one RBI. Casanova finished 2 for 6 with two RBIs and Yamane was 1 for 2 with two runs scored.
Will Cates went 3 for 5 with two runs scored to lead Southwestern.
The Pirates will play two games in the Central Texas Tournament on Saturday. Whitworth will face Emory 9 a.m. (PST) before facing Mary Hardin-Baylor at 12:30 p.m. (PST).