WALLA WALLA - The lack of a few big hits at key times continued to plague the Whitman College baseball team as its dropped a pair of non-conference games to College of Idaho Saturday in cold, bone-chilling conditions at Borleske Field.
College of Idaho, ranked No. 21 in NAIA Division II, won the opener 9-2 in nine innings and took the second game 5-0 in seven innings.
The Coyotes improved to 5-4 on the season while Whitman slipped to 0-8.
After dropping game one despite outhitting the visitors 10-7, Whitman was unable to take advantage of a strong pitching performance from freshman Aaron Cohen in the nightcap.
Cohen blanked the Coyotes on two hits over the first four innings and his teammates were poised to give the Missionaries a lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Freshmen Jimmy Madden (hit by pitch) and C.J. Pentland (walk) reached base to open the inning and were sacrificed into scoring position when senior Jay Richards dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. But College of Idaho starter Todd Griffiths quelled the threat with a strike-out and pop fly.
The Coyotes then broke through with four runs in the top of the fifth. Jarel Lewis was nicked in the foot by a pitch and moved to second when the next batter walked. Following a sacrifice bunt, Kyle Douglas rapped a soft line-drive single into center field to score two runs.
After a passed ball and walk put Coyotes on first and third, a ground ball to shortstop plated a third run and put runners back at first and third when the throw to first base went awry. Another ground ball made it 4-0.
Cohen walked the next batter, which ended his day in favor of freshman reliever Sterling Spilinek, who got the inning's final out on a pop fly.
Spilinek scattered three hits the rest of the way, giving up one run on Cody Spencer's home run to left in the sixth.
Griffiths blanked Whitman on four hits, two by senior Erik Korsmo, while striking out five. Madden and freshman Kyle Moyes had Whitman's other two hits in game two.
College of Idaho scored the day's first run in the second inning of the opener, sandwiching two singles around a hit-batter. Whitman put two runners aboard in the bottom of the second when Korsmo drew a one-out walk and Pentland singled with two outs, but the Missionaries came up empty when the next hitter struck out.
The Coyotes bunched three hits and two sacrifice flys with a stolen base and walk to extend their game-one lead to 4-0 in the top of the third inning.
Whitman picked up its first run in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Casey Minnick drove a line-drive single into center field, moved around to third base on a passed ball and ground-out, and then scored on Pentland's infield single.
College of Idaho pushed its lead to 9-1 with a five-spot in the fifth. A walk, hit-batter and single accounted for one run. After a second base on balls loaded the bases, Kyle Davis cleared the sacks with a grand-slam homer.
Whitman tallied its second run in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman Chris Andrews singled, took second base on a ground-out and scored when freshman Cam Young singled to center. Senior Patrick Stauffer followed with a base on balls but a ground-out left two runners stranded.
Richards singled between walks to Madden and Korsmo in the seventh inning to load the bases with Missionaries. The lack of a key hit again left all three runners on base.
Richards and Pentland had two hits apiece to pace Whitman's 10-hit attack. Madden, Moyes and freshman Kyle Buckham also had game-one hits for Whitman.
Other than surrendering a grand slam in the fifth, junior Jake Nelson tossed an effective seven innings for Whitman. Freshman Dakota Matherly pitched a hitless eighth and ninth innings, striking out two.
Whitman continues non-conference play next weekend with four games in southern California. The Missionaries play two games Saturday and two more on Sunday, alternating each day between Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
C of I 013 050 000 - 9 7 0
Whit 000 110 000 - 2 10 0
Mitchum, Vermillion (7), Hildebrand (9) and Lanman; Nelson, Matherly (8) and Korsmo.
HR - C of I: Davis.
Hits - C of I: Lanman, Griffiths, Garsez 3, Davis 2. Whit: Madden, Richards 2, Young, Minnick, Pentland 2, Buckham, Moyes, Andrews.
C of I 000 040 10 - 5 6 0
Whit 000 000 00 - 0 4 3
Griffiths and Lewis; Cohen, Spilnek (5) and Lari.
HR - C of I: Spencer 2.
Hits - C of I: Tanner, Spencer, Douglas, Dodd, Lewis, Harris; Whit: Madden, Korsmo 2, Moyes 1.