LA GRANDE, Ore. – Jordan Justice made his presence known in the LC State lineup on Saturday in the first two starts of his career. With just three at-bats to his name coming into the weekend, Justice led the LC State offense with a 5-for-8 day at the plate with three home runs, six RBI and five runs scored. He tallied five hits in his first five at-bats to help the No. 13 Warriors to victories of 14-1 (7 innings) and 15-14 over Eastern Oregon.
Jakob Marquez played a key role in game two’s battle with four hits and four RBI. The Warriors totaled eight home runs.
“Nice start to the series with a couple of wins today,” Head Coach Jake Taylor said. “Group effort in both games. Very difficult conditions to play in but we ended up coming out on top.”
With the wins LC State is 24-12 overall and 9-9 in Cascade Conference play.
GAME ONE: No. 13 LC State def. Eastern Oregon 14-1 (7 inn.)
Carter Booth got his day off to a strong start with a leadoff home run to give LC an early edge. Nick Seamons followed with a walk and advanced to third on a pair of flyouts and an RBI-base hit by Dominic Signorelli gave the Warriors a 2-0 advantage. Leo Rivera erased a leadoff single by EOU with a double play in a quick bottom of the first.
The Warriors added on in the second with back-to-back hits to start the inning. Justice led off the frame with a double down the left field line before coming around on a single by Rivera.
Trevin Hope worked his way out of a jam in the second after a pair of singles to open the home half of the frame. Two groundballs and a strikeout left the two in scoring position.
LC State broke the game open in the fourth with a pair of two-rub bombs. Marquez tallied a leadoff single to set up Jordan Justice’s first-career home run. Booth kept the momentum going with a hustle double before stealing third with a massive jump. Pu’ukani De Sa lined a ball back at the pitcher for an RBI-infield single and Isaiah Thomas capped the inning with a two-run blast to make it an 8-0 game.
A four-run LC State fifth pushed the advantage to 12-0. Sam Olsson walked to get things going and courtesy runner Isaac Haws stole second. A base hit by Justice brought in the a run, and back-to-back knocks by Seamons and De Sa plated two more.
Signorelli continued the offensive onslaught with a single to start the sixth. Olsson walked to put two on and a base hit by Marquez knocked in a run. Joe Canty gave LC a 14-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.
EOU scored its first run on the contest in the bottom of the sixth on three hits. Brennen Farber took the ball in the bottom of the seventh and worked out of a jam with a pair of strikeouts in his first appearance of the season.
Justice led LC with a 3-for-3 game at the plate, three RBI and three runs scored in the first start of his career. De Sa also drove in three runs and Booth scored three times.
Hope earned the win after going six innings with five strikeouts. He walked just one batter and gave up a lone run.
GAME TWO: No. 13 LC State def. Eastern Oregon 15-14
The Mountaineers jumped in front in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead, but LC State answered in the next half inning to pull ahead 3-1. Signorelli walked to put a runner on for Marquez who promptly drilled two-run blast to center. Justice made it back-to-back homers with his second of the day.
EOU took the lead in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer to give the Mounties a 4-3 advantage. Another big fly by Eastern Oregon made it 5-3 in the next inning.
The tally grew to three for Justice in the fourth as the sophomore improved to 5-for-5 on the day with three home runs to put LC up 6-5. Olsson doubled to left to lead off the fourth and a double by Marquez drove in a run. Justice came to the plate next and swung the lead back to LC State.
A two-out rally resulted in a run for the Warriors in the fifth. Signorelli tripled before coming in to score on a single by Marquez. Greg Blackman, on in relief, struck out the first batter in the bottom of the inning before Olsson cut down a runner trying to steal to end the frame.
The Warriors added on in the first half of the sixth inning. Rivera singled to start things off and moved to third on productive outs. A double by De Sa knocked in Rivera before Thomas made it a 10-5 advantage with a two-run shot.
EOU evened the game with a five-run seventh inning. Cameron Smith came out of the bullpen and ended the inning with two strikeouts.
Seamons put LC back on top in the top of the eighth with a solo shot to start the inning and a double play ended an EOU threat.
The Warriors added insurance runs in the top of the ninth, and needed every one of them. Olsson doubled to right, Marquez singled and Rivera walked to load the bases. The group was lifted for speedsters Haws, Cruz Hepburn and Noah Weintraub, and Booth was hit by a pitch to bring in a run. Walks to Seamons and De Sa brought in two more before a fielder’s choice off the bat of Thomas made it 15-10.
EOU opened the bottom of the ninth with three straight hits and a sacrifice fly to cut the LC lead to 15-12. Smith recorded a strikeout before two more hits made it a one-run game at 15-14. Eli Shubert came out of the bullpen and ended things with one pitch when he forced a flyout to center.
Shubert earned the save, his third of the season, and Smith earned his fourth win.
Marquez led the contest with a 4-for-5 performance and four RBI. Olsson tallied three hits, and Thomas and Justice each drove in three runs. LC State notched 11 extra-base hits with five home runs, five doubles and a triple.
LC State continues the CCC series with EOU on Sunday with a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.
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