SPOKANE — Whitman College’s baseball team captured the opener of a Northwest Conference doubleheader here Saturday afternoon against host Whitworth University, downing the Pirates by a score of 7-4 to move the Missionaries to 19 wins — the most in a single season since 1982 — before falling, 8-6, to Whitworth in the nightcap at Merkel Field.
Whitman — now 19-18-1 overall and 8-15 in the NWC — assured itself of at least a break-even season with Saturday’s win. A win Sunday would give the Missionary program its first winning record since 1982.
Game one saw Whitman build a 6-0 lead after five innings.
The Missionaries added a run in the seventh following the Pirates’ first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Whitworth added three more in the bottom of the ninth before reliever Nick Johnson closed the door with the bases loaded to earn his third save.
Starting pitcher Brett Lambert picked up the win for Whitman after allowing one run off seven hits over eight innings. Lambert struck out seven and walked two.
Ozzy Braff kicked off the Missionaries’ three-run fifth with an RBI double, then later added a two-out solo home run in the seventh during a 2-for-4 outing.
Cameron Young and MacLean Harned each collected a pair of hits and a run in the victory.
Whitman started strongly in Game 2 with four runs in the top of the first but it gave away in the bottom of the frame when Whitworth answered back with an equal number.
The Pirates took the lead with a run in the bottom of the second, but Paul Heywood’s leadoff single up the middle eventually led to the tying run in the top of the fourth.
Heywood doubled to center field to open the sixth and he later scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly from Jonny Lari.
Whitworth knotted the game back up in the seventh then added two more runs to go ahead for good in the bottom of the eighth.
Heywood, Young, Kyle Buckham and Peter Carmichael registered multi-hit games for Whitman.
Whitman and Whitworth close out the regular season with a noon matchup today at Merkel Field.
Whitman 002 130 100 — 7 7 0
Whitworth 000 001 003 — 4 9 1
Lambert, Valentine (9), Johnson (9) and Harned; Mack, Renner (5) and Davis.
HR — Whitman: Braff.
Hits — Whitman: Braff 2, Young 2, Harned 2, Madden; Whitworth: Motsinger 2, Pfeffer 2, Nelson 2, Mulheims, Wakem, Miller.
Whitman 400 101 000 — 6 11 1
Whitworth 410 000 12X — 8 13 2
Thompson, Hobson (3), Johnson (8) and Lari; Renner, Blumenthal (6), Isadore (9) and Davis.
HR — none.
Hits — Whitman: Heywood 3, Buckham 2, Young 2, Carmichael 2, Madden, Cohen; Whitworth: Muelheims 3, Pfeffer 3, Davis 2, Wakem 2, Hughes 2, Liu.