UBC baseball improved to a 3–5 record after winning three of four games this weekend versus the third-ranked Lewis-Clark State Warriors from Idaho, thanks to incredible pitching.
After losing their first four conference games to the College of Idaho Yotes, the Thunderbirds looked like they had their work cut out for them. But a standout performance from pitcher Sean Heppner helped defeat the Warriors 4–0 to change the story.
Pitching would be the difference-maker for the rest of the weekend. Ryan Beitel started Saturday morning, a tight game that went to extra innings where the T-Birds won 2–1. The game-winning run came from when the Warriors outfielder fumbled the ball, giving Brandon Hupe time to take the lead.
The Warriors bounced back quickly in the next game, putting up three runs in the first inning of the next game. Pitchers Brett Corbeth and Cole Alguire held their opponents scoreless after that, but the team couldn’t generate enough offence, losing the game 3–1.
Heppner was the starting pitcher again Sunday morning, and with a double from David Draayers, the ‘Birds were up 2–1 in the bottom of the fourth. With one more run in the fifth inning, the Thunderbirds won their third game 3–1.
Throughout the home stint, UBC head coach Chris Pritchett had a lot of praise for the pitching. “I was so impressed with our pitchers because they kept us in it,” he said.
The Thunderbirds played well when fielding but sometimes appeared hesitant with their offence, in some situations deciding too late to make a run for the next base. However, the ‘Birds are a team on the younger side and show a lot of potential — especially in their pitching, clocking in 33 strikeouts over the four games.
The T-Birds will look to continue improving next week when they travel to face the bottom-seeded Eastern Oregon University Mountaineers. The key? Confidence.
“We keep telling them they’re good players, that we’re a good team, but we haven't played like a good team,” said Pritchett. “[These wins] will hopefully start to build some confidence in what it takes to be successful.”