Baseball wraps up season with series loss
Facing a tough test to close out the 2012 season, the Whitman baseball team was swept by rival Whitworth University in a three-game series 7-4, 13-2 and 8-7.
Whitman trailed 4-0 heading into the seventh inning in game one before sophomore Kyle Moyes stepped to the plate and belted a grand slam to pull the Missionaries back into the game. However, Moyes’ homer was not enough for Whitman, as Whitworth responded with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to reclaim a lead it would not relinquish.
Moyes’ grand slam gives him five home runs for the season, the most a Missionary has hit since 2002 (Kyle Carothers ’02 hit 11 home runs in his senior season).
Whitworth came out firing in game two: after Whitman took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Whitworth scored in five of their eight innings played to earn a 13-2 victory. Sophomores Moyes and Jimmy Madden and first-year Maclean Harned each had two hits for Whitman.
In the series and season finale, Whitman rallied twice but was unable to complete the comeback and pull off the win, as the Pirates claimed an 8-7 victory and series sweep. Down 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning, Whitman scored three runs including a two-run double from sophomore Cam Young and another RBI from sophomore Aaron Cohen off a walk to take the lead 4-3.
The Pirates pulled the lead back with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning before the Missionaries staged a second comeback attempt. In the top of the eighth inning, sophomores Cohen and Chris Conolidge each hit a home run to rally the Missionaries into three runs, pulling Whitman to within a single run. But that was as close as they would get, falling by a final score of 8-7.
Conolidge’s homer was the first in his Whitman career.
In what turned out to be a one-run game, Whitman left 13 runners on base. Conolidge (2-6) and first-year Peter Valentine (0-5) combined to leave 11 runners on base.
With the weekend sweep, Whitworth claimed a share of the NWC regular season title and won the tiebreaker with Pacific to earn the NWC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Whitman finishes the season at 5-19 (5-34) in eighth place in the NWC, matching their win total from 2011.
Three Whit teams Nationals-bound
This year Whitman will be represented in not one, not two but three NCAA National Championship Tournaments. The Whitman women’s golf, women’s tennis and men’s tennis teams all won their respective NWC tournament titles to earn the Conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.
One championship was arguably expected: the men’s tennis team swept away the NWC with an undefeated 12-0 conference record and lengthened its NWC regular season winning streak to 90 matches (last loss in April 2006). Led by sophomore and NWC Player of the Year Andrew La Cava, the Whit men went 21-4 on the season with its four losses coming to non-Division III opponents.
Senior Adriel Borshansky went 19-1 on the season in singles competition and 11-0 in NWC play in holding down the fort primarily at the No. 6 slot. Borshansky is also on a 19-match winning streak in singles. Two doubles pairs (senior Conor Holton-Burke/junior Matt Tesmond and sophomore La Cava/junior Jeff Tolman) have each amassed 15 wins and are a combined 30-10 for the season at the No. 1 and 2 doubles slots, respectively.
The men’s tennis team continues to train hard in preparation for the NCAA tournament and will find out their seeding and pairings May 7. Tournament play runs May 21-26 in Cary, N.C.
While the men’s tennis team claimed victory on its home court, two championships required upset bids against undefeated opponents.
Both the women’s golf and tennis teams entered their respective NWC tournaments as the No. 2 seed, looking up at undefeated opposition.
Heading into the tournament, the women’s golf team trailed George Fox by two points in the season standings, needing a win in the final weekend to guarantee a bid to Nationals. After building up a one-stroke lead on day one, the Whit women not only held but also built on that lead in carding a final two-day score of 629, five strokes ahead of the Wildcats. Sophomore Elaine Whaley shot a 76 on the decisive second day (the second-best score of day two), propelling the Missionaries to victory. Four Missionaries placed in the top eight led by junior Tate Head (third place), first-year Kelly Sweeney (fourth) and sophomore Caitlin Holland (fifth). Whaley rounded out the group in eighth place.
Head coach Skip Molitor was named the NWC Coach of the Year, Head and Webber earned All-NWC First Team recognition and Whaley and Sweeney earned nods to the All-NWC Second Team.
The Whit women will travel to Angola, Ind., next week for the NCAA Tournament held May 8-11 at Zollner Golf Course. Methodist University, ranked No. 1 in the East Region, is the defending NCAA champions and has won 14 consecutive national titles. Whitman is currently ranked fourth in the West Region with new rankings due out at the beginning of May.
The women’s tennis team also faced an undefeated foe in Linfield College, who hosted the NWC tournament as the No. 1 seed and had already defeated the Missionaries twice during the regular season.
On this day, however, the court belonged to Whitman as the women stormed out to the lead and earned a hard-fought 5-1 victory over the Wildcats. Senior Emily Rolston and first-year Morgan Lawless earned the first team point of the final with a resounding 8-1 win at No. 2 doubles. Junior and NWC Player of the Year Alyssa Roberg paired with first-year Courtney Lawless to continue to a season-long trend of dominance and earn an 8-6 victory at No. 1 doubles. Roberg and Lawless improved to 14-2 on the season in that No. 1 slot.
Just like she had all season and throughout her Whitman career, Rolston helped carry her team to victory, fittingly clinching the fifth and final team point with a 6-1, 6-3 victory at No. 6 singles.
The Whit women finished the NWC season at 10-2 and 17-4 overall. The team will travel to Cary, N.C., May 21-26 to compete in the NCAA Championship Tournament. Top-ranked Williams College is the defending national champion and has won the last four NCAA titles. Whitman is not currently ranked in the Top 25 but a new poll should be released in early May.