CWU baseball Splits DH; Out of Playoff Picture - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU baseball Splits DH; Out of Playoff Picture

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NAMPA, Idaho -- Central Washington University sophomore Kevin Walkenhauer (Yakima, Wash./West Valley HS) had a two-run triple in the first game, and was three for four with two doubles in the nightcap, as the Wildcats split a Great Northwest Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader with host Northwest Nazarene on Friday evening at Vail Field. Central dropped the opener, 9-6, before winning game two by a 9-4 score.

Despite the split, the Wildcats (30-19, 20-10 GNAC) were eliminated from the conference title race as Western Oregon won both games of its doubleheader against Montana State Billings on Friday to make it a three-game lead in the standings with two games remaining. Northwest Nazarene is now 30-22 overall and 13-17 in GNAC play.

Walkenhauer had his first career triple in a pinch-hitting role in the eighth inning of game one, driving in the Wildcats' final two runs to make it a three-run game at that point. Central did not score in the ninth inning against NNU relievers Tyler Liebelt and Nate Slonaker.

Central scored first in the opener, taking advantage of two Crusader errors in the top of the third inning for four total runs and a 4-0 margin. That lead was short-lived, however, as Northwest Nazarene responded with six in the bottom of the frame on a trio of two-run hits, capped by Mitch Kochis' go-ahead home run with two out.

The margin reached 9-4 in the fourth, as NNU scored three unearned runs against Wildcat senior ace Tyler Levin (Everett, Wash.). Levin, who likely made his last collegiate appearance and suffered the loss to fall to 7-5, struck out seven and walked just two while surrendering 11 hits over 7 1/3 innings.

The Wildcat offense managed just five hits against three Crusader pitchers, with senior Jamie Nilsen (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) again leading the charge with a two-hit outing. Zach Aakhus hit his 15th home run of the season and drove in five for Northwest Nazarene, while Ryne Phillips had four hits for the hosts.

In game two, junior Derek Shoemaker (Moses Lake, Wash.) went the distance, allowing just three earned runs, and senior Nate Rylaarsdam (Mount Vernon, Wash.) went 4 for 5 with two doubles as the Wildcats won by five runs.

Shoemaker scattered eight hits, and his offensive teammates combined for 13 -- including a combined seven from Rylaarsdam and Walkenhauer. Central never trailed in the game, leading 6-3 after three innings and tacking on insurance tallies in the fifth and sixth innings.

Only five of the Wildcats' nine runs in the game were earned, as they took advantage of five Northwest Nazarene errors in the seven-inning contest. Central committed just one miscue behind Shoemaker.

Junior A.J. Gosney (Veradale, Wash./Central Valley HS) also had a multi-hit game for the Wildcats, going 2 for 4 with a run scored.

The two teams finish the 2008 season on Saturday with another doubleheader beginning at noon MDT (11 a.m. PDT).

COLLEGE BASEBALL
WEST REGION
NCAA DIVISION II/GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Northwest Nazarene 9, Central Washington 6
Central Washington 9, Northwest Nazarene 4

NOTE: With the Wildcats' game one loss, combined with two wins Friday by Western Oregon, Central Washington is eliminated from Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship contention. The Wildcats (20-10 GNAC) trail WOU (23-7 GNAC) by three games with two conference games left to play on Saturday.

COLLEGE BASEBALL
WEST REGION
NCAA DIVISION II/GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Northwest Nazarene 9, Central Washington 6
Central Washington 9, Northwest Nazarene 4

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