WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla baseball team posted 19 runs in its doubleheader sweep against Big Bend on Wednesday.
The Warriors downed the Vikings, 11-8, in game one, before erasing a two-run deficit to win 8-5 in the nightcap.
Walla Walla (14-2 overall, 5-1 in East Region play) opened a 9-2 lead in just the second inning of the opener, as catcher Jake Browne brought in Clayten Ayres and Ryan Neal with a three-run home run. But the Warriors weren’t done there, as Trevor Jones and Corey Morris scored on a Jared Gonzales single. JJ Robinson then brought in Seth Wolfe, who walked, with a double, and Gonzales scored on a Neal single.
“Both Clayten and Jake swung the bats well in both games,” WWCC coach Dave Meliah said. “They really picked up the slack and drove in some key runs in big situations.”
But the Vikings responded by posting five runs in the next three innings to trim the Warrior lead to 10-7 after the fifth inning. Jon Dailey blasted a solo shot off pitcher Jesse Houser in the fifth, but Houser settled in nicely from there. He retired the next five batters he faced, before being replaced by Brandon Costello in the seventh.
Houser got credit for the win, as he allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits. He also struck out seven.
“We had that big second inning in the first game and kind of let up a little bit after that,” Meliah said. “Big Bend is a good club and they battled back and put the pressure on us. Fortunately, we were able to make some plays and hold on.”
In the second game, the Vikings scored three runs in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. But the Warriors countered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth after Gonzales drove in Dillan Klute, Houser drove in Ayres and Neal scored Gonzales.
From there, Meliah handed the ball over to his bullpen and watched as relievers Johnny McNerney and Levi Rudolph shut the door on the Big Bend offense over the final four frames.
“Our bullpen as a whole was outstanding,” Meliah said. “Brandon did a tremendous job of coming in and stopping the bleeding in game one and both Johnny and Levi pounded the strike zone in game two and held them in check to give us a chance to get back in it.”
The Warriors travel to face Columbia Basin on Saturday.