Rally again falls short for Whitman hardballers

For the second time in three weekend games, the Missionaries' late rally isn't enough in a 7-6 baseball loss to Pacific Sunday.

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Whitman's Casey Minnick swings for a hit during the Missionaries' 7-6 loss to Pacific Sunday.

WALLA WALLA - For the second time in three games this weekend, Whitman College saw its ninth-inning rally fall a run short on Sunday as Pacific escaped with a 7-6 Northwest Conference baseball victory at Borleske Stadium.

Pacific, winning all three weekend games by a single run, improved to 12-6 in the NWC (19-11 overall) and jumped into second place in the conference standings.

Whitman, which let a four-run lead slip away late in Saturday's second game, fell to 3-15 in conference and 4-25 overall.

In Sunday's series finale, Pacific broke open a 3-1 contest with four runs in the top of the seventh.

Down 7-1 headed to the bottom of the ninth, and having already stranded several runners, Whitman came battling back. After Chris Andrews led off with a base on balls and Jay Richards popped out, starting Pacific pitcher Chad Fahey gave way to reliever Brett Nakasone.

Whitman's next two hitters, Cam Young and Casey Minnick, drew walks, loading the bases and making Nakasone's outing a short one.

Nate Rasmussen, Pacific's next reliever, was greeted by an RBI-single to left field off the bat of Erik Korsmo. Aaron Cohen then drilled another ball into left that skipped past the fielder and rolled to the wall, allowing all three runners to score.

Cohen motored into third with Whitman now trailing by just a pair of runs at 7-5.

Kyle Moyes made it 7-6, driving an RBI-sacrifice fly into deep left-center.

With Whitman down to its last out, Kyle Buckham kept the inning alive with a single into left. That ended Rasmussen's relief stint.

Pacific's fourth pitcher of the inning, Dan Wolfe, was greeted by a single to left by pinch-hitter C.J. Pentland, which sent Buckham to second base.

Wolfe got the next hitter, Jimmy Madden, to ground a ball to third base, but the throw across the diamond was in the dirt, allowing Madden to reach safely and load the bases.

With the tying run on third and the winning tally on second, Wolfe got Richards to ground into a force out at second base to end the game.

Fahey, who scattered eight hits and four walks over eight and one-third innings, got the win, improving to 4-2 on the season. Wolfe notched his sixth save of the spring.

Pacific scored the game's first three runs in the fourth inning, thanks in large part to a string of three doubles by Logan Moen, Mike Nagamine and Trux French.

Whitman busted through for a run in the sixth. With two outs, Cohen doubled to left and scored when Moyes stroked a single to center. After Buckham reached on an infield error, Andrews singled through the right side to load the bases.

Fahey got the inning's third out on a pop fly to keep the Boxer lead at 3-1.

Pacific stretched its lead to 7-1 with four two-out runs in the eighth. Nagamine doubled in the first run and Rasmussen doubled in two more. The fourth run came home on a balk call.

Three freshmen - Dakota Matherly, Tristan Gavin and Sterling Spilinek - pitched for the Missionaries, scattering seven hits and four walks.

Whitman out-hit the Boxers 12-8 but also stranded a total of 14 runners. Korsmo finished with three hits while Cohen and Andrews had two apiece. Nagamine had three of Pacific's eight hits.

Whitman makes a final road trip next weekend, playing a three-game series against Willamette in Salem, Ore. The Missionaries then conclude the regular season with three-game homestand against Whitworth on April 30 and May 1.

Pacific 7, Whitman 6

Pacific 000 300 040 - 7 8 4

Whitman 000 001 005 - 6 12 3

Fahey, Nakasone (9), Rasmussen (9), Wolfe (9) and Rowland, Schehen. Matherly, Gavin (4), Spilinek (8) and Madden.

HR - none.

Hits - Pac: Moen, Nagamine 3, Rasmussen, French, Rowland, Arakaki. Whit: Richards, Minnick, Korsmo 3, Cohen 2, Moyes, Buckham, Andrews 2, Pentland.

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