Photo courtesy of Idaho Press Tribune
CALDWELL, Idaho - A five-run seventh inning rally in Game 1 gave College of Idaho skipper Shawn Humberger his 400th career victory, as the Coyotes and Menlo College split an NAIA West doubleheader at scorching Wolfe Field.
The No. 24 ranked Coyotes (35-13, 20-8 NAIA West) won the first game, 6-3, before Menlo hung on to salvage the final game of the four-game series, 6-4. The C of I holds a three-game lead over British Columbia in the race for the No. 1 seed to the NAIA West Grouping Tournament - needing either one win next weekend in their series at Corban or a UBC loss in their series at Patten, to earn top-billing for the five-team event.
The 12th-year head coach became the third coach in school history to win 400-or-more games - joining his predecessor Tim Mooney and former men's basketball coach and current athletic director, Marty Holly.
The Oaks (25-23, 18-14) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 1 - as Taylor Cohn had a sun-aided double in the third, scoring on a Cameron Cox sacrifice fly. An inning later, John Hanley scored on a wild throw to third by C of I starter Zach Fabricius, with Collin Forgey scoring on a Will Pierce sacrifice fly.
Starter Derek Martinez was on cruise control - allowing just one runner reach third through six innings. However, in the seventh, a Jesse Dodd RBI single got the Yotes on the board - with a bases loaded RBI single by Fabricius getting The C of I within 3-2. A pair of Martinez wild pitches allowed Jake Vincent and Parker Vernon to score, with a Jarel Lewis RBI single capping the five-run frame. Riley Humberger provided an insurance run in the eighth with a pinch-hit RBI single.
Izaac Garsez got his first collegiate win, allowing just one hit in two-plus innings of relief. Todd Griffiths locked down his fifth save of the season, entering with two-on and one-out in the ninth, coaxing a game-ending double play.
Lewis went 3-for-4 in the win, with Dodd adding a pair of hits for the Yotes.
Game 2 started with a bang for the Oaks, as Menlo strung four-straight two-out hits - including a two-run double from C.J. Dailey, to take a 4-0 lead. The Yotes countered in the second, cutting the lead in half on a Brett Ward RBI single and an Andrew Sewell sacrifice fly.
The visitors chased starter Joshua Orr in the third, tallying a pair of runs - but Griffiths limited the Oaks to just one hit the rest of the way, striking out seven in his seven innings of work.
A sacrifice fly by Lewis in the third and a Griffiths RBI single in the eighth got the Yotes within 6-4. The C of I brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Garsez flew out to the wall in center to end the game.
James Jensen went the distance for the Oaks, allowing nine hits and four runs, striking out four. Collin Forgey had two triples and two runs scored for Menlo, while Tanner Hodges and Jeffrey Harris had two hits for the Yotes, who finished their home schedule with a 24-6 record.
The C of I closes out their regular season next weekend with a four-game series at Corban University.