THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – California Lutheran rallied with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tip visiting Whitworth 5-4 in the collegiate baseball season opener for both schools on Friday afternoon.
Erik Nikssarian had two hits and an RBI to lead the Pirates at the plate. Dan Scheibe pitched 4.1 strong innings in his first start of the season, allowing one run.
All four of CLU's runs in the eighth inning came after two were out. Ronnie Burton had the big hit, a two-run single to right field that drove in Davey Casciola and Elon Goldman. Both runs were unearned.
Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, the Pirates pulled within one run after Nikssarian led off with a single and came around to score on Gerhard Muelheims' fielder's choice. All-American Tyler Pfeffer came to the plate as the go-ahead run with two outs, but he flied out to center field to end the game.
Nikssarian's RBI single drove in the Pirates' first run of the season in the fifth inning, tying the game 1-1. Whitworth went ahead 3-1 in the seventh, the second of the two runs scoring on Pfeffer's RBI single.
The game featured typical first-game jitters as both teams committed three errors and only three of the nine total runs in the game were earned.
Scheibe struck out seven and walked four in his first start of the season. Michael Woodkey gave up one run on one hit in three solid innings of relief. Taylor Isadore was credited with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in the eighth.
Jake Peterson started on the hill for CLU, allowing three runs (none earned) on five hits in seven innings. Aaron Roth pitched the ninth for his first save. Burton finished the game 2-4 with two RBIs.
The teams will play a double header on Saturday beginning at 11:00am.