Big hits propel No. 1 Lewis-Clark State past Bearcats

LEWISTON, Idaho — Three hits by host Lewis-Clark State (14-1) plated eight runs on Saturday, propelling the nation’s top-ranked NAIA team to a 10-3 victory over Willamette (5-6) during the second day of the Jiffy Lube Tournament.

The loss dropped the Bearcats into Sunday’s 10 a.m. consolation game against either the University of British Columbia or Bellevue (Neb.), who were playing Saturday night.

Lewis-Clark State, which has lost only to Washington State this season, took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks in large part to a grand slam home run by Nick Browne. The Warriors also got a two-run homer in the sixth inning and a two-run double in the seventh to take a commanding 10-0 lead.

But the Bearcats made things interesting with a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth. In the eighth, Mike Allen hit a sacrifice fly and Ken Halpin pushed across another run with a bases-loaded walk. But WU left the bases loaded to end the inning. The Bearcats stranded 10 runners in the game, compared to eight for the hosts.

Allen led Willamette by going 2 for 2 at the plate. Jason Chatterton, who hit a grand slam home run in a 7-6 win over British Columbia earlier in the day, drove in Allen with a single in the seventh.

Zach Vande Griend (1-4) took the loss for the Bearcats, yielding seven earned runs in as many innings. He struck out four, but gave up nine hits and three walks.