WALLA WALLA - A whole handful of freshmen and sophomores played key roles as Whitman College slugged and pitched its way to 7-5 and 11-2 Northwest Conference baseball victories over Lewis & Clark Sunday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.
The Whitman victories offset Lewis & Clark's 4-3 win in Saturday's first game of the series.
Sunday's action got underway with continuation of Saturday's second game, which was halted by persistent rain after four innings with Lewis & Clark on top 4-2.
Peter Valentine erased Whitman's deficit in the bottom of the fifth when he launched a towering three-run homer over the fence in left-center. It was his third homer of the season.
After Lewis & Clark pulled even at 5-5, Valentine singled and Cam Young doubled to ignite a two-run seventh inning that carried the Missionaries to victory.
Right-hander Will Thompson, who tossed the game's first four innings for Whitman on Saturday, gave way at the start of play on Sunday to lefty Spencer Hobson.
Hobson responded in fine fashion, throwing four innings of relief to pick up his first collegiate pitching victory. He gave up just one run on four hits while striking out five.
With Whitman clinging to a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth, Lewis & Clark's Nick Lavin led off with an infield single and steamed into second base on an errant throw to first. But Hobson kept Whitman's lead intact, fanning the next two hitters before getting the third out on a ground ball to short.
After Whitman regained the lead at 7-5, Lewis & Clark challenged one final time in the ninth against closer Brett Lambert.
Lambert, working his way back into form after losing last season to injury, walked two of the first three batters he faced, and a passed ball put the equalizing runs in scoring position at second and third with just one out.
But Lambert soon closed the door on his second collegiate save, throwing a third strike past the next hitter before getting the final out on a ground ball to second.
Valentine, who had four hits in Saturday's first game, had two more hits (plus a base on balls) in game two. He had a hand in all seven Missionary runs, knocking in four while scoring three.
The Missionaries rolled to their 11-2 romp in the series finale.
In the bottom of the first, Valentine blooped a single to center, Young walked on four pitches and sophomore Aaron Cohen rifled a run-scoring double into the left-field corner for a 1-0 Whitman lead.
Lewis & Clark starter Mike Hathaway tired in the bottom of the fourth, walking Chow, yielding Valentine's single to left and hitting Young to fill the bases. Hathaway then hit Cohen with another pitch, forcing home a run and ending his stint on the mound.
Reliever Klyle Tibbett got one out, but Jimmy Madden lifted a run-scoring sacrifice fly to right and Chris Konolige ripped an RBI-single to left.
With Whitman up 4-1, lefty Griffin Sutich relieved Jake Nelson to start the fifth and mowed down the first eight batters he faced. Eric Hyun broke the spell with a two-out single in top of seventh, but Sutich fanned the next hitter.
Meanwhile, the Missionary offense had extended its lead to 8-1 with a four-run sixth inning. After Cohen, Kyle Moyes and Madden generated one run with three straight singles, Andrews knocked an RBI-sacrifice fly into right field and Chow ripped a two-run double over the left fielder's head.
When Whitman sent Cohen to the mound for the top of the eighth, Lewis & Clark tried to parlay a few bits of good fortune into a late rally. A bloop single followed by an infield hit and single through the right side loaded the bases for Mike Kinkenon, who rapped a hard ground ball toward the third base bag.
But Andrews was there to make a sliding stop and trigger his second double play of the game. He popped out of his slide to touch the bag for one out and make the toss across the diamond for a second out. A run scored on the play, but Cohen got the next hitter on a fly ball to keep Whitman's lead at 8-2.
The Missionaries then added to that cushion with three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Valentine pitched the top of the ninth for Whitman, getting three outs while hitting a batter.
After Nelson scattered four hits and three walks in four innings of work, Sutich got his pitching victory with three innings of one-hit ball.
Whitman, now 4-11 in the NWC, heads to Forest Grove, Ore., next weekend for a three-game series against Pacific. Two games are set for Friday, starting at noon, with the third game slated for noon on Saturday.
L&C 100 300 100 - 5 8 3
Whitman 101 030 20x - 7 7 3
Strombom, Heimbrodt (7), Tibbett (8) and Higger. Thompson, Hobson (5), Lambert (9) and Harned.
HR - Whit: Valentine.
Hits - L&C: Hyun, Dane, Ball 2, Lavin, Traver, Wertz 2; Whit: Chow 2, Valentine 2, Young 2, Andrews.
L&C 000 100 010 - 2 8 3
Whitman 100 304 03x - 11 12 1
Hathaway, Tibbett (4), Heimbrodt (6), Hand (8) and Kinkenon. Nelson, Sutich (5), Cohen (8), Valentine (9) and Harned, Lari.
HR - none.
Hits - L&C: Hyun 2, Ball, Lavin 2, Traver 2, Brown. Whit: Chow, Valentine 2, Young 2, Cohen 2, Moyes, Madden, Konolige, Lari, Andrews.