WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Whitman College came within three outs of completing a three-game baseball sweep of Lewis & Clark on Sunday, but the Pioneers rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth to steal a 5-3 Northwest Conference victory at Borleske Stadium.
Whitman finished the weekend with records of 2-4 in the NWC and 3-14 overall.
Lewis & Clark, snapping a 12-game losing streak, improved to 1-8 in conference and 2-12 on the season.
Starting pitchers Eliot Smith for the Pioneers and Aaron Cohen for Whitman engaged in a pitching dual all afternoon.
Cohen scattered four hits over the first eight innings while striking out seven and walking seven. He held the upper hand and a 2-1 lead headed to the top of the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Michael Ball sparked the rally with a lead-off single in the Pioneer ninth. After an infield error put runners on first and second, Tucker Laurence bunted back to Cohen, who bobbled the ball for a moment before making a wild throw to third.
That miscue allowed the tying run to score. A fielder's choice in the infield plated another run, giving Lewis & Clark a 3-2 lead.
With two outs in the inning, Smith helped his own cause with an RBI-double into the right-center field gap. That ended Cohen's day on the mound.
Reliever Dakota Matherly was victimized by Nick Lavin's bloop single to center that scored another run, upping the Pioneer lead to 5-2.
Whitman tried to bounce back in the bottom of the ninth. Kyle Buckham led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third base on a ground out. A two-out infield error allowed Buckham to score, trimming Whitman's deficit to 5-3.
Cam Young kept the inning alive with a single to center, bringing the winning run to the plate in the person of Casey Minnick, who chopped a grounder off the plate to third base. The throw across the diamond nearly pulled Laurence, the first baseman, off the bag, but he kept contact long enough for the third and final out.
Smith gave up eight hits and five walks in throwing his complete game.
Young, Korsmo, Cohen and Buckham had two hits each to account for all eight of Whitman's hits in the game.
Gianluca Giarrizzo had two hits for Lewis & Clark.
Whitman hits the road this weekend for three NWC games against Linfield in McMinnville, Ore.
Lewis & Clark is slated to host Corban in a non-conference game at 4 p.m. Tuesday and hosts Whitworth in a NWC three-game set next weekend.
Lewis & Clark 010 000 004 - 5 7 3
Whitman 010 001 001 - 3 8 3
Smith and Greene; Cohen, Matherly (9) and Korsmo.
Hits - L&C: Ball, Laurence, Greene, Smith, Lavin, Giarizzo 2; Whitman: Young 2, Korsmo 2, Cohen 2, Buckham 2.