SPOKANE, Wash. - A complete game pitching performance led Puget Sound to a 6-1 victory in the series opener before Whitworth belted three home runs and held off a late rally for a 10-8 win to earn a doubleheader split on Saturday at Merkel Field.
The No. 19 Pirates (28-11) and the Loggers (16-23) are playing a three-game series classified as a non-conference matchup to conclude the regular season schedule.
Game 1 - Puget Sound 6, Whitworth 1
Puget Sound starter Collin Maier threw a complete game and held Whitworth to its lowest run total of the season as the Loggers erased an early deficit to claim the series opener.
The Pirates struck first with a one-out solo home run over the high wall in right field from Joel Condreay during the second inning, his third home run of the year. But Maier then retired the next six batters he faced and scattered three hits, one walk and one hit by pitch the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Puget Sound took advantage of two defensive miscues by the Pirates in the third inning to tie the game before taking a 3-1 lead during the sixth inning.
After failing to score with leadoff doubles in both the first and second innings, the Loggers pushed a run across the plate without a hit in the third inning via a walk and two errors. Back-to-back singles with one out from Nick Funyak and Matt Shelhammer were followed by an RBI double from Nathan Backes and an RBI single from James Dejesus to account for the Loggers' two runs in the sixth.
In the seventh inning, Funyak scored Nickolas Alarcio with a two-out double to left-center field for a 4-1 lead. The Loggers added two runs in the ninth inning via an RBI single from Alarcio and a sacrifice fly from Chris Zerio. Puget Sound totaled two hits in the frame and also took advantage of a Whitworth error defensively.
After hitting Jordan McGowan with a pitch to begin the bottom of the sixth inning, Maier retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced to keep Whitworth from threatening with a comeback.
Maier (5-4) allowed five hits in the effort, striking out six. Hugh Smith (5-1) took his first loss of the season, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk over 5 ⅓ innings pitched. Arory Milyard allowed three runs (two earned) over three innings of relief work before Mathew Pulliam tossed the last ⅔ of an inning.
Game 2: Whitworth 10, Puget Sound 8
Whitworth launched three home runs and used a pair of four-run innings in building an eight-run lead before holding off a late rally in the ninth inning from Puget Sound to earn a split of the doubleheader.
The first of two four-run innings came during the second frame. Condreay once again put Whitworth on the scoreboard with a one-out single to score Ryan Bird. Four batters later, Garrett Hughes doubled to the gap in left-center field with the bases loaded to plate three runs. He was thrown out attempting to advance to third during the relay to the plate, but all three runs crossed home before he was tagged out.
The Loggers cut the lead to 4-2 with one run apiece in the third and fourth innings via a solo home run from Ryan Darrow in the third and a sacrifice fly by Ian Hughes in the fourth. But Whitworth responded to plate a pair of runs in the fifth inning before scoring four times in the sixth.
Druffel's eighth home run of the season came in the fifth inning, bouncing high off the scoreboard behind the fence in right-center field to plate himself along with Hughes. In the sixth, Jacob Yamane belted a two-run home run and Hughes followed with a solo shot to give Whitworth back-to-back home runs as well as a 9-2 advantage. JT Phelan later delivered an RBI double to score Druffel for the 10-2 lead.
A pair of two-out base hits plated three runs for the Loggers in the seventh before another three runs in the ninth inning created a tense finish to the game.
In the seventh, Zachary Wogan scored two runs with a base hit, advancing to second on the relay to the plate during the play. He then scored with an RBI double from Alex Sierra down the left-field line to bring Puget Sound within 10-5.
Singles from Ryan Moyes and Layne Croney put two baserunners aboard in the ninth before Sierra hit a three-run home run to left field, cutting the deficit to 10-8. A single, via a high fly ball that fell between Whitworth outfielders, and a walk brought the go-ahead run to the plate before Kelly Fitzpatrick entered the game and induced a ground out to secure the win.
Ryan Kingma (8-3) tossed six innings, allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and one strikeout to collect the win. JD Page, Connor Sand and Fitzpatrick combined in the relief effort. Fitzpatrick picked up his fourth save of the season.
Merle Rowan-Kennedy (2-5) took the loss, allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Hughes went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored while Druffel went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored to help lead Whitworth.