In a battle of the two top teams in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges’ Southern Region, the Titans split with the Mt. Hood Saints on a sunny yet very breezy day on April 19.
In the first game, the Titans (12-12, 7-5 Southern Region) crept up a bit on the first-place Saints by pulling out a 5-4 victory led by sophomore pitcher/infielder Skip Spencer on both the mound and at the plate.
In the second game, LCC couldn’t pull even with Mt. Hood (13-6, 9-3) in the standings resulting in a 5-3 loss causing them to fall two games back in the region.
In the opener, Spencer pitched eight innings while giving up only four runs and allowing five hits. At the plate he was as equally impressive going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
After trailing by one through the first two and a half innings, the Titans responded with a three run third inning, with all three runs coming with two outs.
Sophomore second baseman Joe Offer would contribute an RBI double and also score a run in the inning.
After the Saints responded with a run in the fourth inning to pull within one run, LCC would respond with two more runs in the bottom in the fifth to take a commanding 5-2 lead.
In the fifth, the Titans would hit three straight singles with freshman catcher Jordyn Van Atta concluding the scoring with a deep sacrifice fly to score Offer.
Mt. Hood would score its last two runs in the top of the seventh to come within one run. But sophomore pitcher Nick Phillips, who led the NWAACC in saves, came in relief for Spencer and throw a scoreless eighth to ensure the 5-4 victory for the Titans.
“In game one Skip Spencer threw eight quality innings for the win and Nick Phillips had a solid eighth inning for the save,” assistant coach Jeff Lyle said after the game. “Anytime we can go eight innings with our starter and hand the ball to Nick we feel like we should win.”
For the game, Offer went 3-for-4 with two runs and sophomore first baseman Darrell Hunter finished 2-for-4 with a RBI.
In a game that would be decided on missed opportunities, the Titans couldn’t capitalize on the momentum gained from the first game and fell to the Saints 5-3 in the nightcap.
LCC jumped out to a first inning lead on an RBI single by Van Atta that would bring in Spencer after he was hit by a pitch.
Mt. Hood took a short-lived lead in the top of the fourth inning before the Titans responded with a run off of a Mt. Hood error that scored Van Atta from third, making the score even at 2-2.
With the game tied again, the Saints would take the lead in the top of the fifth before the Titans would get the equalizer in the bottom of the sixth.
The seventh inning, which is the final inning in a NWAACC double-header, proved to be thrilling in favor for the Titans.
With runners on second and third for the Saints and one out, a deep fly ball was hit to sophomore right fielder Tym Pearson. Pearson would catch the ball for the second out and then throw a heater to Van Atta at home plate for the third out of the inning and stop the Saints rally.
The Titans couldn’t capitalize in their half of the seventh inning so the game would go into extra innings.
In the extra frame, Mt. Hood would score two runs to take a 5-3 lead.
The Titans would lead off the bottom half of the eighth inning with two straight singles, but couldn’t muster up any runs and had to settle for the loss.
“In the second game we made some mistakes that really cost us,” Lyle said. “Hood is a good team and you can’t give good teams extra outs.”
Just like in the last inning of the game, the Titans couldn’t capitalize on opportunities and stranded a game-high seven runners on base, including four in scoring position.
The Titans return to action on April 23 when they take on SWOCC in a conference doubleheader with the first pitch set for 1 p.m.