April 9, 2008
Harvel Tosses Gem; Bearcats Drop Nightcap
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - On a rainy, windy and chilly evening the Northwest Missouri State baseball team split a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) double header with rival Missouri Western. The Bearcats got a gem from starter Brett Harvel in game one winning 8-0, but dropped a tough nightcap 4-2 to the Griffons.
The split moves Northwest to 19-14 (9-9 MIAA) and the Griffons to 12-19 (9-11 MIAA).
It was Brett Harvel night in game number one. The Lee's Summit native scattered seven hits and struck out seven in his first career shutout. Harvel retired the Griffons in order just once during the seven innings, but helped strand 11 Griffons on the base paths. In the seventh, the Griffons had bases loaded and one out when Harvel induced and pop out and struck out Joey Pilatti looking to keep the zero on the scoreboard.
Northwest sent one runner across the plate in the first, with Ryan Bledsoe scoring on a two-out, RBI-single from Britt Westman. In the fourth, the Bearcats got a more comfortable lead scoring three runs on an RBI-single by Kreed Kurtz and back-to-back, two-out RBI-doubles by Trevor Conner and Bledsoe.
Westman led off the fifth with a line-drive home run down the left field line, giving him seven on the season and 29 long balls in his career. One more home run would make him just the fourth Bearcat in history to have 30-plus home runs in a Northwest uniform.
The Bearcats led 6-0 heading into the seventh and added a couple more runs in the the frame to give starter Harvel a 8-0 margin.
Five Bearcats finished with multi-hit games. Westman and Brandon Kirsch each ended 3-for-4 and Kurtz, Conner and Bledsoe had two hits apiece.
Great pitching and defense by both clubs made this game come right down to the wire. Each team put goose eggs on the scoreboard for the first three innings as starters Danny Malone and Blake Thomas controlled the game early.
Western struck first in the fourth scoring on a wild pitch, but Northwest knotted the game at one in the fourth plating a run on a Griffon defensive miscue.
In the fifth, the Griffons had the bases loaded and one out with a golden opportunity to take the lead. A ground ball to second baseman Nick Pfieffer induced a 4-6-3 double play, called due to the Griffon base runner sliding out of the base line.
The Bearcats had the exact same situation in the sixth, but mirrored the Griffons with a 4-6-3 double play to end their threat.
Western again loaded the bases in the sixth, this time with nobody out and the game still tied at one. Reliever Ben Briant, who entered the game after Malone took a line drive off his body in the sixth, had the task at hand. Third baseman Ben Malick went home on a ground ball to get the first out and Briant sat down Adam Mercado on strikes for out number two. Pinch hitter Tim Reed then laced a ball down the third base line that Malick snagged on a dive and threw a strike across the diamond to get out of the jam unscathed.
With the ball game tied at one, Western finally took advantage of an opportunity in the seventh. A one-out single with the bases loaded gave the Griffons a 2-1 lead, but Northwest turned another double play to keep the game within reach.
A leadoff double to right center by Bledsoe started the rally in the eighth. Malick's bloop single down the left field line would knot the game at two.
Evan Nickel, who replaced Briant in the seventh, allowed a leadoff single to the Griffons in the eighth. A fielder error put runners on first and second and a ground out moved them to second and third with one away. Nickel induced a ground out back to himself before a throwing error allowed two Griffons to cross the plate and give them a 4-2 advantage.
The Bearcats would get one base runner in the ninth, but would drop the tough fought game on a wet and windy night.
Northwest will host Washburn this weekend. The four game series has been changed to two double headers on Sunday, April 13, at 1 p.m. and Monday, April 14, at 1 p.m. Game one will seven and game two a nine inning affair in both double headers.
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