From CWU Athletics
MONMOUTH, Ore. (May 9) -- Junior Joe Arlt (Spokane, Wash./Central Valley HS) threw a complete-game shutout, as the Central Washington University baseball team defeated Western Oregon University, 3-0, to cap a perfect 2-0 day and bring the Wildcats to within one victory of the 2013 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament title.
CWU improved to 30-22 overall after victories against Montana State University Billings (6-5) and WOU. The win over MSUB eliminated the Yellowjackets from the double-elimination tournament, while it also put the Wildcats into a position where they need just one win over Western Oregon on Friday to claim the conference championship. WOU would need to defeat CWU twice on Friday to earn the title. The first of those games will start at noon.
CWU 6, Montana State Billings 5
A six-run fourth inning, which included a costly error that translated into five unearned runs, helped propel CWU to a 6-5 victory over Montana State Billings.
The Wildcats fell behind 2-0 after a pair of first-inning doubles from the Yellowjackets in the first inning. Colter Sternhagen then led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run against CWU junior left-hander Skye Adams (Vancouver, Wash./Columbia River HS).
In the bottom of the inning, junior Scott Stone (Corvallis, Ore./Crescent Valley HS) led off with a walk. An error on the sacrifice bunt by junior J.V. Estella (Marysville, Wash./Marysville-Pilchuck HS) allowed the Wildcats to have a pair of runners, and freshman Kramer Ferrell (Ellensburg, Wash.) then reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Two batters later, junior Joel Johnson (Olympia, Wash.) broke up the shutout with a RBI single and junior Joe Castro (Union City, Calif./James Logan HS) then tied the game with a sacrifice fly. After Justen Weigel (Naches, Wash./Naches Valley HS) gave CWU a 3-2 lead with a RBI single, senior Kyle Sani (Kennewick, Wash./Southridge HS) hit a three-run double to extend the lead to four runs.
Montana State Billings chipped its way back with two runs in the top of the fifth inning, scoring once on a bases-loaded hit batsman and then adding another run on a balk, but Adams (6-2) induced back-to-back fly outs to escape the inning with a two-run lead still intact.
The score remained 6-4 until the top of the ninth, when MSUB got a leadoff single from Bryce Todd. After a sacrifice bunt advanced Todd to second, Brody Miller delivered his second double of the game to score him. However, reliever Willie Davies (Shoreline, Wash./Shorecrest HS) got a groundout and a fly out to preserve the victory.
CWU finished with an 8-7 edge in hits, as the top three hitters in the lineup -- Weigel, Sani, and senior Marc Garza (Othello, Wash.) -- getting two each. Adams earned the win, striking out six in six innings of work, while Davies earned his third save of the year after three innings of two-hit baseball.
Miller went 3 for 4 to lead Montana State Billings (21-27-1) in its season finale.
CWU 3, Western Oregon 0
Arlt scattered five hits and struck out seven over nine innings, allowing the Wildcats to shut out Western Oregon on the Wolves' home field for the second time this season.
In a true pitcher's duel between Arlt and WOU right-hander AJ Burke, neither team scored until the top of the ninth when freshman Kramer Ferrell (Ellensburg, Wash.) led off with a double and then scored on a single by junior Ethan Sterkel (Ellensburg, Wash.) for a 1-0 lead. Burke left the game at that point, and CWU pushed the lead to 2-0 when Sterkel scored on a wild pitch. Then, with two out and runners at first and second, Garza chopped a ball to second base that was mishandled and junior Spencer Hannah (Ferndale, Wash.), who had been on second to start the play, came all the way in to score for a 3-0 lead.
Arlt retired Western Oregon in order in the bottom of the ninth, getting a fly out and a pair of ground outs to complete his victory. His nine-inning outing, which required just 104 pitches, was more than three innings longer than the longest previous outing of his season. He struck out seven and walked two in improving to 3-0 on the season.
Offensively, Garza, Ferrell, and Sterkel all had two-hit outings as the Wildcats finished with seven total hits.