PORTLAND, Ore. -- Sean Shepherd hit a RBI double for the first of three runs in the eighth inning that boosted a lead for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in a 10-9 non-conference win over the Whitman Blues on Sunday afternoon. The victory secured a winning finish for seven seniors in their final game at the Huston Sports Complex.
Prior to the eighth inning, senior Tommy Massari hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, that put the Pios back up 7-6.
Whitman scored three runs in the ninth inning to close to within one before Chandler Vieira pitched to the final out. Austin Conniff (1-0) relieved Lewis & Clark starter Zach Merzlak to earn his first win of the season with a three-inning performance.
Steven Ainsworth (2-4) was charged with the loss for Whitman, which was led by Joseph Zimmer's 3 for 4 performance from the plate.
Akira Abderrahman hit his second home run of the weekend with a three-run shot over the rightfield wall in the third inning. He has a career-high five home runs entering the final weekend of the season. Abderrahman finished with three hits in Sunday's finale, and combined with Massari, the pair totaled five with seven RBI.
Following a pre-game recognition ceremony to honor the team's seven seniors, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers dropped a back-and-forth game, 5-3, and lost the Northwest Conference series to the Whitman Blues.
Ben Beck had a three-hit day in his final home NWC game, as did sophomore Cooper Larson. Larson singled in Nick Lockwood to give the Pioneers a one-run, first-inning lead. Seniors Tommy Massari and Jacob Burton added RBI singles in the sixth to give the Pioneers back the lead after Whitman scored two in the top half.
Drake Gilliland started the game on Senior Day and threw seven innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. In his final home performance, the senior pitched three of the first five innings without allowing a hit and put down the Blues in order in two of them.
Chandler Vieira (0-1) took the loss in relief after allowing two runs on three hits. Garrett Atkinson (1-1) was the winning pitcher for Whitman, which was led offensively by Joseph Zimmer's three hits. The Blues (17-17; 11-10 NWC) remained in fourth place in the NWC standings with the win to keep in the NWC tournament hunt.
The Pioneers (7-28; 5-16 NWC) are having one of their best seasons in the Northwest Conference this year. If Lewis & Clark can get one win in their final NWC series against Willamette next weekend, the Pios will have their best win total in the NWC since 2013. This year, Lewis & Clark won its first series against George Fox since joining NCAA Division III in the late 1990s and have only lost five NWC games this season by more than four runs.
The series at Willamette begins on Saturday at noon.