March 6, 2010

Baseball Wins Both On Day Two Of Bearkat Invitational

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas - An offensive explosion and a strong pitching performance gave the Northern Colorado baseball team a pair of wins in the Bearkat Invitational on Saturday. The Bears (3-4) defeated Creighton 10-3 in the opener, snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Bluejays, then won a 5-3 decision at Sam Houston State in the nightcap.

In game one, freshman Harrison Lambert hit a grand slam in a seven-run first inning, while senior Joe Sawicki picked up the win on the mound. He threw six innings, allowing just two earned runs on four hits, walking three and striking out four. Fellow senior Forbes Scott pitched a three-inning save, giving up just one hit and striking out four.

"Joe Sawicki and Forbes Scott both pitched very good against Creighton," said Head Coach Kevin Smallcomb. "They kept throwing strikes all day and we started strong with seven runs in the first inning and held on to win."

In game two, sophomore Joe Willman went the distance, throwing 110 pitches to win his first game of the season. He allowed just three runs on five hits, walking four and striking out four.

"Joe Willman was excellent in pitching a complete game," said Smallcomb. "Seth Budde hit a three-run home run to help him out. Willman kept throwing strikes and this was a good day for Northern Colorado baseball."

Willman's complete game is the first for a Bears pitcher since the 2008 finale when Jason Banks shut out NYIT in the Division I Independent Championship.

In addition to Lambert's grand slam in game one, Budde hit a bases-clearing double earlier in the first inning to plate the first three runs. Budde ended the game with five RBI after going 3-for-5 and went 5-for-9 in the twinbill with eight RBI. The five RBI is a high for the senior catcher-designated hitter, bettering his previous best of four from last year against Air Force.

In the first game, the Bears scored 10 runs on 13 hits and committed two errors, while Creighton scored three on five hits and had two errors as well.

Starting Bluejays pitcher Mike Nihsen lasted just 0.1 of an inning in the loss, allowing six earned runs (seven total) on four hits and walked two. Freshman Ty Blach threw the next 6.2 innings, keeping the Bears mostly in check as he gave up just one run on six hits, walking one and striking out seven.

Against Sam Houston State, Budde's home run in the first inning again gave the Bears a lead they would never relinquish as they had five runs on 10 hits and played error free ball. The Bearkats scored three runs on five hits and had two errors.

Paul Spinn was credited with the loss for SHSU, pitching seven innings allowing all five runs (four earned) on 10 hits, walking two and striking out nine.

Sam Houston State and Northern Colorado meet tomorrow in the final day of the Bearkat Invitational at 11:00 am (Central)/10:00 am (Mountain). Freshman Mark Shannon is slated to pitch for the Bears.

Notes: With hits in each of Saturday's games, sophomore Adrian Schenk tied his career-long hitting streak at five games... Joe Willman's complete game on the mound was the first for a Bears' pitcher since the 2008 season finale when Jason Banks won a 3-0 game against NYIT at Texas-Pan American in the Division I Independent Championship... Harrison Lambert's grand slam was the first for NC since May 12, 2009 when Kevin Sandberg hit one... Seth Budde has six hits this season and now leads the team with 10 RBI... Despite losing the top three home run hitters off last season's team, the Bears have hit seven in 2010, compared to just four for the opposition.