Baseball drops series for first time in nearly a month
By SCOTT WARD
SHORELINE, Wash. -- Northern Colorado Baseball fell behind early Saturday against Seattle and never recovered in a 5-2 loss at Meridian Park Field.
The game was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. local start at the Redhawks' home park in Bellevue, Wash., but playability issues there delayed the teams' rubber match about three hours and pushed it nearly 30 minutes north up U.S. Interstate 5.
Northern Colorado (9-13) never really got acclimated to the less-than-ideal, last-minute switch and trailed 4-0 after the second inning before going on to lose a series for the first time since the first week of March (Washington State).
After pulling within 4-2 in the fifth, the Bears let Seattle (14-10) go back ahead 5-2 in the sixth, and that was the game.
Northern Colorado starter Kevin Willman (0-1) earned his first decision of the season, but it came in a loss. He took the mound in the first inning but didn't make it out of the second inning. He allowed four runs on four hits, including Riley Tompkins' two-out home run to right in the bottom of the first that staked Seattle to an early lead.
Seafth Howe started for Seattle and held Northern Colorado at bay for much of his four-plus innings of work. He walked two and surrendered six hits, but the two runs he allowed were unearned. That's all the Bears were able to muster this day.
Freshman Jensen Park stirred Northern Colorado to potential rally in the fifth when he led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error by Seattle shortstop Nate Roberts. Park then made his way to second with one out after Harrison Lambert singled to left.
Dylan Banach followed with a swining strike out, for the second out of the inning, but freshman Ryan Yamane came through with a clutch RBI double to left that scored Park and put Lambert on third. Senior Casey Coy continued the rally by drawing a walk to load the bases and senior Adam Hilker took advantage, plating the Bears' last run of the game with an RBI walk.
Jake Chutney (1-0) relieved Howe in the fifth and put some water on the Bears' fire when he got senior Adrian Schenk to ground into a fielder's choice.
Lambert, Hilker and Schenk finished with two hits apiece, and Yamane and Coy accounted for the rest of Northern Colorado's offense with one hit each.
The Bears had chances for a comeback win, but Tony Crudo, Schenk and Coy all stranded three runners on base.
After Park flied out to start Northern Colorado's top of the ninth, designated hitter Brooks Schneider drew a walk and quickly moved to second on a single to center from Lambert. After Dylan Banach drew a walk to load the bases for Northern Colorado and put the tying runner on with just one out, Yamane struck out looking and, after a pitching change, Coy flied out to right.
QUICK RECAP: Rain in the area delayed the final game of this three-game series about three hours and moved it 30 minutes north, to Shoreline, Wash., and to Meridian Park Field … Seattle (14-10) scored once in the first and three times in the second to take an early 4-0 lead … After pulling within 4-2 in the fifth, the Bears (9-13) let Seattle go back ahead 5-2 in the sixth … Northern Colorado starter Kevin Willman (0-1) earned his first decision of the season, but it came in a loss … He lasted 1 2/3 innings before getting the hook … The Bears' bullpen threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed just one run but none were earned … Harrison Lambert, Adam Hilker and Adrian Schenk finished with two hits apiece … Freshman Ryan Yamane got the Bears on the board with an RBI double to left in the fifth, and Hilker added the Bears' other run when he drew a bases-loaded walk two batters later … Northern Colorado will next play Tuesday at Air Force in a single mid-week game … The start of Great West Conference play awaits next weekend, when the Bears will travel to New Jersey Institute of Technology.