WALLA WALLA - Mike Paulson dropped a bases-loaded, RBI single into center field to cap a four-run, ninth-inning rally Saturday afternoon as Walla Walla Community College nipped Prairie Baseball Academy, 6-5, in the first game of its season-opening baseball doubleheader at Warrior Field.
WWCC collected 12 hits in the second game - including a sixth-inning, grand-slam home run from Ryan Rambur - and completed the sweep with an 11-8 triumph.
Walla Walla overcame seven strong innings thrown by Prairie starting pitcher Shane Dawson, a 5-0 deficit and six errors in game one, and held off a ninth-inning, Prairie Dawgs' rally to claim the nightcap.
"The first games are a learning process," WWCC coach Dave Meliah said. "A lot of freshmen got their feet wet."
Prairie broke a scoreless tie in the first game with two runs in the fourth inning, and added three more tallies in the seventh.
The Warriors' Jared Jordan got the home team on the board with a two-run home run to left off of Prairie Dawgs' reliever Mark Kostenuik in the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the WWCC ninth, Rambur plated the first run against Prairie hurler Cole Lencucha with a single. An error resulted in the second run of the frame and Neal Schuck evened the score with a single.
With runners at first and third and no outs, Schuck took second on catcher's indifference.
Tony Salas was retired on an infield pop-up and Jordan was intentionally walked prior to Paulson's delivery in the pinch.
Wa-Hi product Drew Christina earned the victory with two innings of shut-out relief.
"It's always nice to find a way to win," Meliah said. "We always preach to just play hard until the last out."
Rambur drove in the first run of game two with a single to center.
The teams exchanged runs in the third. A run-scoring single to center by Jordan gave Walla Walla a 2-1 edge.
An error, wild pitch, and infield out produced three runs in the Warriors' fourth that resulted in a 5-1 lead.
Prairie scored three times in its half of the fifth inning and tied the game in the seventh.
Jordan put WWCC back in front, 6-5, in the last of the seventh with a single to left. Three batters followed prior to Rambur's deep fly.
Jarrod Turner drove in Walla Walla's final run of the day with a left-field single in the bottom of the eighth.
Prairie scored three times and had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning, but were unable to come all the way back.
"Our pitchers, for the most part, threw strikes," Meliah said.
Jordan, Turner and Rambur ended up with four hits apiece in the twin bill. Kasey Knigge had two hits in the opener and Michael Kilpatrick had an equal number in the second game.
WWCC hosts Miles today at 11 a.m.
PBA 000 200 300 - 5 9 3
WWCC 000 000 024 - 6 8 6
Dawson, Kostenuik (8), Lencucha (9) and Barry; Arlt, Brockman (5), D. Christina (8) and Turner.
HR - WWCC: Jordan.
Hits - PBA: Wood 3, Gouthro 2, Underwood, Dornblut, Steinke, Pelham; WWCC: Turner 2, Knigge 2, Jordan, Rambur, Schuck, Paulson.
PBA 001 030 103 - 8 14 1
WWCC 011 300 51x - 11 12 1
Petite, Wrigley (7) and Steinke; Campeau, James (6), Whitten (9) and Holbrook.
HR - WWCC: Rambur.
Hits - PBA: MacInnis 3, Pelham 2, Barry 2, Underwood 2, Pidhaichuk 2, Turple, Dornblut, Gouthro; WWCC: Jordan 3, Rambur 3, Turner 2, Kilpatrick 2, Holbrook, Paulson.