Roadrunners Drop Critical Doubleheader to SW Oregon
COOS BAY – The Linn-Benton Baseball team lost a pair of games at Southwestern Oregon Community College on Thursday, May 4.
Each game was decided by one run, and they were critical for helping to determine the final NWAC baseball standings. The first game had a final score of 6-5, while the second went 13 innings – that’s four extra – and concluded with a tally of 3-2, also in favor of the Lakers.
Homefield advantage was too much to overcome for the Beaks, though they have the opportunity to win two of their own at home when LB and SW Oregon meet up for another doubleheader, this time in Albany, on Saturday May 6. The first game is at 1 p.m. and the second is at 4 p.m.
The Roadrunners got on the board first in the opening game of the day during the fourth inning when Trey Nelson scored on a sacrifice fly from Daniel Pruitt. The Lakers duly responded with 2 runs in the fifth inning, 1 in the sixth, and 3 in the seventh inning. LB entered the top of the eighth inning trailing 6-1.
They almost made a comeback, scoring 3 runs in the eighth off of a home run from Nelson that sent Aidan Dougherty across the plate; Pruitt then doubled and Jordan Hockett ran in another score for the Beaks. LB managed to cut the Lakers’ lead to one run when Hockett was walked with bases loaded and Tyler Pfeifer scored an unearned run.
The Roadrunners were not able to capitalize with the bases loaded, however, and SW Oregon took the game.
The difference in the game was an unusual 6 errors by the Roadrunners, which, when combined with three batters walked, dug a hole too deep to emerge from.
Nelson had 3 hits and 2 RBI in the first game, scoring 2 runs of his own. Pruitt had 2 hits of his own, and Dougherty added a run and 2 hits.
The second game was nailbiter from start to finish.
Shaking off the close loss earlier in the day, the Roadrunners immediately jumped out to the lead in the top of the first inning. After Cole Cramer and Dougherty singled, they were followed by another single by Titus Dumitru that propelled Cramer to third. Nelson grounded out to second base and Cramer scored, which was followed by a single from Hockett that drove Dumitru home.
The Lakers kept it close with a run in the second inning. From there, the game was scoreless until the seventh, when SW Oregon scored another run.
With the game tied at 2-2 after nine innings, extra innings started. Both teams fought fiercely for a better position in the standings, going 13 innings until the Lakers ran in a score to end the game.
Dylan Rush and Kellan Oakes pitched the second game, with Rush throwing for 8 innings and Oakes hurling the rock for 4 ⅔. They struck out 11 batters on the day while allowing 9 hits. The Beaks committed 3 errors.
It will either end up being a day that the Beaks regret or laugh at, depending on the outcome of their final two games of the season, which are also against the Lakers — this time at home.
Linn-Benton finished the day with a 21-13 record in the NWAC, while SW Oregon sports an 18-12 resume.
If the Roadrunners sweep their final series on Saturday, then they stay ahead of the Lakers in the NWAC South standings and clinch second place in the division. If they split or lose both, then they give SW Oregon the chance to overcome them in the Lakers’ final four games against the Mt. Hood Saints.
The Roadrunners’ final games of the regular season are on Saturday, May 6, at 1 and 4 p.m. They are in Albany at the newly dedicated Dick McLain Field. Hopefully, a raucous crowd and a pair of wins will inaugurate Dick McLain Field.