VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds baseball team is headed to Klamath Falls, Ore., this weekend to take on the Oregon Tech Hustlin’ Owls in a four-game NAIA West Grouping series. Currently, both teams are unranked. UBC owns a record of 23-8 (6-2 in conference play), whereas OIT is 11-17 and 3-5 in the NAIA West standings.
The teams have met just once earlier in the season, where the Thunderbirds were victorious by a slim margin of 13-10 in a netrual site game in Atherton, Calif. Third-year right-handed pitcher Alex Webb started the game, but UBC allowed the Owls to climb back into the race in the ninth inning, scoring seven runs.
“This weekend is the complete opposite of last weekend,” UBC head coach Terry McKaig said. “Last weekend we had rain and a big ball park that’s hard to score runs in and this weekend we’ve got an 11-hour bus ride down to some thinner air and an offensive, smaller ball park.”
Oregon Tech swept their Sunday double-header against the Simpson Red Hawks, winning the pair of games 14-1 and 13-0 in seven innings each with a colossal 33 hits and 27 runs. Second-year outfielder Dominic Morris went 7-for-8 on Sunday, and had a home run Saturday.
“Offensively they’re a much better team this year,” McKaig said. “We’re going to have to pitch well. But, our guys have been good most of the year, our four starters, and our relievers Curtis [Taylor] and Tyler [Gillies]. Oregon Tech’ll be tougher to beat this year, so they’ll have to keep them in check.”
Muscle Mlk Athlete of the Week Conor Lillis-White and Webb started in the UBC wins last weekend against the visiting College of Idaho Coyotes. Both pitchers only surrendered two hits in their outings.
While it took the ‘Birds the first two games to get the bats moving, first baseman Bruce Yari and outfielders Tyler Enns and Brendan Rose contributed to Sunday’s offensive surge, in which they recorded 14 hits in Game 3 and 11 in Game 4. The same kind of output will be necessary against the Owls.
“The team knows that the season is an uphill battle,” McKaig said. “At this point in the season, it’s all about peaking at the right time and building up to that. The guys know that so this trip is about us, being comfortable, and working hard.”
First pitch for the Saturday double-header at Kiger Stadium is set for 12 noon, with a rematch Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m.