WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Jordan McGowan and Garrett Hughes each hit grand slams to lead Whitworth to a 12-7 win over Whitman in the nightcap of a twilight doubleheader at Borleske Stadium on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the Blues earned a 4-2 in in the opener, which was the only one that counted toward the Northwest Conference standings.
Whitworth is now 12-9 overall and 4-8 in the NWC while Whitman is 11-12, 6-6. The Pirates head to Tacoma for a three-game conference set this weekend at Puget Sound.
Game 1 – Whitman 4, Whitworth 2
The Pirates managed only four hits against a half-dozen Whitman pitchers and could not overcome an early 3-0 deficit in a makeup of a game that was rained out on February 26th.
The Blues scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first against Whitworth starting pitcher Darren Crosby. Adrian Vela singled home the first run and David Johnson drove in the next two.
The Pirates got one run back in the top of the third when Jacob Silva hit his first home run of the season to left field. But it was Whitworth's only hit through the first seven innings of the game.
Vela's second RBI single of the game in the fifth inning increased Whitman's lead to 4-1.
Whitworth got a run back in the top of the eighth on McGowan's single to center field. The Pirates had a chance to tie the game in the inning after loading the bases with two outs. But Milo Mincin, Whitman's sixth pitcher of the game, came on in relief to retire Silva on a pop up. Mincin worked a perfect ninth to earn his first save of the season. Travis Craven (2-2) pitched two hitless innings of relief to get the win. Jimmy Smiley started on the mound for Whitman and allowed only one hit in three innings.
Game 2 – Whitworth 12, Whitman 7
McGowan hit a grand slam in the first inning while Hughes added his grand slam in the sixth frame as Whitworth ended a three-game losing streak to the Blues.
McGowan's grand slam was part of a five-run first inning for the Pirates. Silva singled in the first run before McGowan drove the ball over the left field wall for his third grand slam in the last 11 days. McGowan hit one in a 9-2 win at George Fox on March 11th, then hit another one in a 17-5 win over PLU on March 19th. He finished the game 2-4 with four RBIs.
After Whitman cut the margin to 6-4, Hughes gave the Pirates some breathing room with his grand slam in the top of the sixth. It is Hughes' first home run of the season. Hughes, who had a sacrifice fly in the fourth, added an RBI single in the eighth for six RBIs in the game. He finished 4-4 at the plate.
Whitworth used six pitchers in the game. Matthew Pulliam started and allowed two runs on five hits in 3.1 innings. Matthew Young (2-2) picked up the win with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Brady Simmelink pitched a perfect ninth for the Bucs.
John Lyon (1-1) started for Whitman and took the loss for Whitman. He was the first of four Blues hurlers in the second game.