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Tanner Barnes walks-off against Centenary (LA)

Tanner Barnes walks-off against Centenary (LA)

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Baseball team wrapped up the month of February with a split against Centenary (LA) on Saturday at Hugh B. Mendez Stadium.

After a tough loss in Game 1 13-6 the Purple & Gold bounced back in Game 2 to win with a walk-off 8-7 ending their seven-game losing skid.  They improve to 3-8, 0-3 SCIAC.    

Game 1 (L, 13-6)

The Poets fell behind 8-0 after the first three innings as Head Coach Mike Rizzo used Devin Duran (Fremont, Calif.), Thomas Lyle-Temple (Oceanside, Calif.), Joey Hanley (Chicago, Ill.), and Nathan Bacosa (San Jose, Calif.).  These four would give up all of these runs on just five hits, while totaling three walks.  Duran was charged with the loss dropping to 0-2 on the season after giving up three of the runs on four hits.

Whittier got two of those runs back in the 3rd with Justin Ryan (Riverside, Calif.) doubling down the left field line that plated Devon Robinson (Soquel, Calif.) and Jacob DeLongchamp (Beaumont, Calif.).  The lead stretched to 12-2 after the Gents would add one in the 4th, two in the 6th and another in the 7th.  But Whittier wouldn't go down without a fight scrapping for four runs on four hits.  River Danner (Seal Beach, Calif.) started things off with a single through the left side and moved up after a walk to Wilson Okazaki (San Diego, Calif.)Matt Salas (Whittier, Calif.) who recovered from a shoulder injury then stepped in and doubled down the left field line that scored one and Dane Goodman (Ross, Calif.) followed with his own double to right center that scored another two.  The final run of the inning came from Tanner Barnes (Littleton, CO) who drove a sacrifice fly to center that made it a six-run game.

After a scoreless 8th, Centenary would add insurance in the top half of the 9th and despite Whittier collecting a hit in their final at-bats from Goodman it wouldn't be enough to spark a rally.

Ryan finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBI's.  Goodman was 2-for-5 scoring once and driving in two and Salas was 1-for-2 with a run scored and a run batted in.                      

Game 2 (W, 8-7)

Centenary went on top quickly 3-0 following their opening at-bats chasing Poet starter DeLongchamp.  Whittier though was able to respond in their half with Goodman reaching on an error by the shortstop and coming in on a Jacob Bauer (Pleasanton, Calif.) double to right center.  The very next inning WC went on top for the first time on the afternoon putting up a three spot off the bat of Alexander Jelloian (Chatsworth, Calif.) who went yard for a three-run shot.

Both teams swapped runs in the 4th as Whittier held a 5-4 lead into the 5th.  This is where the Gents rallied with three runs on four hits, which included a two-run shot from Ludwick.  They swung the momentum putting them on top 7-5.  After a scoreless 6th and 7th Whittier was able to tie things up in the 8th.  DeLongchamp started things off with a single up the middle and Danner then walked that put two runners on.  Following a passed ball that moved the two pinch runners up into scoring position Jared Vuz (Blairstown, NJ) walked, but due to a wild pitch on the fourth ball it allowed both runners to come in.

Then in the 9th Whittier put together their comeback.  Goodman started the late rally off with a walk and after a force out at second Mike Hernandez (Stockton, Calif.) was hit by a pitch.  Brandon Lara-Mack (San Gabriel, Calif.) then reached on a fielders choice putting two outs on the board and runners on the corners.  Then came Barnes in a pinch-hit situation and he came up clutch fighting off an inside fastball into right field that propelled the Poets to the come from behind victory.

Matthew Helguera (Montebello, Calif.) picked up the win throwing the final 1.0 Inning as he collected his first win on the season.  Bauer finished the game 3-for-5 with a run and RBI.  Vuz was 2-for-3 scoring twice and driving in three and Ryan was 2-for-5.  Jelloian also recorded a 1-for-4 effort with that homerun adding a run and three RBI's.                   

Whittier returns to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play next weekend against Occidental College.  They travel into Los Angeles, Calif. on Friday, March 6 to take on the Tigers a day before hosting them for a doubleheader on Saturday, March 7.