CWU falls to Saint Martin's at Inland Cellular Tournament - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU falls to Saint Martin's at Inland Cellular Tournament

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LEWISTON, Idaho -- The Central Washington University baseball team was two outs away from victory on Sunday, but Saint Martin's University rallied for three two-out runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Wildcats, 7-6, in the third-place game at the Inland Cellular Tournament at Harris Field.

The Wildcats finished the tournament with a 1-3 record, with their lone win coming over the Saints in Friday's opening game. CWU fell to 2-8 on the season, while Saint Martin's earned its first win of the 2012 campaign (1-11). Tournament host Lewis-Clark State defeated Western Oregon, 3-0, to win the tournament title.

Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, CWU senior Glen Reser (Spokane, Wash./Mead HS) hit a bases-clearing double to the right-center field gap, giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead. A bunt single by junior Spencer Humphrey (Dublin, Calif.) put runners on the corners with nobody out, and senior Brett Bielec (Port Orchard, Wash./North Mason HS) then squeezed home Reser with a sacrifice bunt to make it a 4-2 cushion for the Wildcats.

The lead didn't last long, though, as Saint Martin's manufactured two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Mario Sanelli picked up a two-run single with one out in the inning to tie the game at 4-4.

Central Washington went ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning with a single run, as sophomore Ethan Sterkel (Ellensburg, Wash.) led off with a single, went to second on a one-out walk to Humphrey, and scored on a RBI single by Bielec to give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead. Senior Brandon Wang (Mill Creek, Wash./Jackson HS) followed Bielec's hit with a single to load the bases, but all runners were left stranded after consecutive outs to end the inning.

The Wildcats' lead held up until the ninth, when Saint Martin's first batter was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, the Saints got a single from Adam Hudspeth to put two runners on base, and Bobby Twedt's ground ball to shortstop was played by Central Washington senior Brady Kincannon (Federal Way, Wash./Decatur HS), who retired Hudspeth at second. However, the relay throw for the potential game-ending double play got past first base, allowing SMU to tie the score and have the go-ahead run in scoring position. After a passed ball, walk, and stolen base, Sanelli delivered another two-run single to give the Saints a 7-5 advantage.

CWU appeared to be in prime position to tie or win the game in the bottom of the ninth, as each of its first three runners reached base on singles by senior Derrick Webb (Ephrata, Wash.) and Kincannon, sandwiched around a walk to senior David Leid (Carson City, Nev./Carson HS). Junior Kyle Sani (Kennewick, Wash./Southridge HS) lofted a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Webb and moved Leid to third base, but consecutive outs by the Wildcats' next two hitters left the potential tying run stranded at third to end the game.

Central Washington finished the game with 13 hits, marking the third time in the past five games that the Wildcats had at least 13 hits. Bielec went 3 for 4 to raise his batting average to a team-best .421, also driving in a pair of runs. Sani, Sterkel, and Humphrey added two hits apiece, while Wang, Webb, Kincannon, and Reser finished with one hit apiece.

Junior relief pitcher Alex Bushman (Billings, Mont./Billings Central Catholic HS) allowed just one hit over 2 2/3 innings of relief, but walked three and suffered the loss (0-1) in relief of junior starter Randy Button (Allyn, Wash./North Mason HS). Button left with a 5-4 lead after scattering seven hits over six innings of work.

Saint Martin's was led by three-hit games from Hudspeth (3 for 3) and Travis Shaw (3 for 5), while Sanelli drove in four runs on his two singles in five at-bats.

Central Washington will take next weekend off from games before playing its scheduled home-opening doubleheader against Whitworth University on March 3 at noon.
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