The Lane baseball team secured a spot in the NorthWest Athletic Conference playoffs with two home wins against the Clackamas Cougars on Thursday, May 3. The Titans are wedged in second place behind the Linn-Benton Roadrunners and one spot ahead of Clackamas. With only nine games left in the regular season, they are gearing up to take it one step further than their NWAC semi-final loss last season against Linn-Benton.
The bats were swinging early as the Titans and Cougars racked up 11 hits in just the first three innings. Lane managed to score one run in the second inning, but Clackamas turned up the pressure and scored four runs in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Titan Logan Zozaya scored Lane’s first run after sophomore second baseman Jayden Hanna hit a single past the Cougar infield defense.
The Titan defense allowed zero runs after giving up four in the third inning. Sophomore pitcher Bryce Mulcahy came into the game in the third inning and earned the win for the Titans as he allowed just four hits and struck out three Clackamas batters in five innings of action.
Things slowed down offensively until the bottom of the fifth inning when seven different Titans got on base. The Titans managed to score five runs and take their first lead of the game thanks to a Hank Forrest single that drove in Zozaya and outfielder Tim Storms to put the score at 6-5.
The Titans scored three more runs before the game was over, comfortably winning 9-5. Storms and Hanna led the team with three hits and two RBIs each.
Lane rode their defensive momentum into the second game, shutting out the Cougars 6-0. They allowed only two hits in seven innings of play. Sophomore shortstop Lane Kashiwamura led the Titans with two hits and two runs.
While the red-hot Roadrunners clinched the top spot in the Southern Region, the Titans will try to take down the Roadrunners who haven’t lost a game since March 30. For Lane, this will be the ninth straight year the Titans have made it to the NWAC playoffs, and seventh straight under head coach Josh Blunt.
Lane traveled to Chemeketa over the May 5 weekend and came out with just a single win. But the Titans return to Titan Field on Monday to face Linn-Benton for the first time since last year’s semi-final game when the Titans fell short of the NWAC Championship. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown on Tuesday, May 8 at 4 p.m.