ANTHEM, Ariz. - A 7-2 lead after three innings slipped away as Whitman College opened its baseball season with an 11-9 11-inning loss to Whittier College here at the Arizona Desert Classic.
Whittier, which opened its season this past week with three losses to Chapman University, used a hit-batter, stolen base and RBI-single in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 9-9 and force extra innings.
With one out in the top of the 11th, the Poets plated what proved to be the winning run on a walk and David Tucci's RBI-triple. Tucci scored the insurance run on a sacrifice fly to center field.
In the bottom of the 11th, Whitman senior Blaine Mercado led off with a single to right field but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. After junior Erik Korsmo followed with a double into the right-center gap, Whittier's Austin Straus got the next two outs to nail down the win.
Mercado, who pitched the first two innings for Whitman, had a big day at the plate with a triple, three singles and a base on balls in six trips. Korsmo also had four hits, including two doubles, as the Missionaries pounded out 19 hits in all.
Whitman resumed play at 10 a.m. today with a game against La Verne, which is 2-2 on the season after falling 10-9 earlier today to Linfield.
Whittier 011 203 101 02 - 11 16 1
Whitman 124 001 010 00 - 9 19 2
Rueda, Hoeful (3), Fallon (5), Pigott (6), Weppner (8), Straus (11) and Marciano, Amicon, Crawford; Mercado, Sease (3), Martin (5), Weeks (6), Nortz (6), Korsmo (8), Settle-Winick (11) and Kitamura.
Hits - Whittier: Storrer, Tuttle 2, Goodchild, Weppner 3, Straus 2, Vallejo 2, Hylland 2, Marciano, Tucci 3; Whitman: Tolleson 3, Mercado 4, Rodhouse, Martin 2, Weeks 2, Kitamura, Sease, Richards.