Rohde fans 13 as CWU baseball splits with MSU Billings - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Rohde fans 13 as CWU baseball splits with MSU Billings

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By Sammy Henderson

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Senior pitcher Brandon Rohde (Gig Harbor, Wash.) struck out a career-high 13 in a seven-inning complete game, leading the Central Washington University baseball team to a 4-1 victory over Montana State University Billings in its 2012 home finale on Saturday. MSU Billings won the opener, 9-8, and claimed the series three games to one.

The Wildcats are now 17-29 overall and are 9-19 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. MSUB, which also claimed the overall season series with CWU by a 6-2 count, is now 22-20 overall and 13-15 in the GNAC.

Rohde celebrated his final collegiate home game by turning in his best performance of the season by allowing just two hits over seven innings. Both hits Rohde surrendered were to Matt Comer -- a first-inning RBI triple and a sixth-inning single -- and he retired the side in order in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings. He capped his first double-digit strikeout game of the year by striking out all three hitters he faced in the seventh.

The CWU offense gave Rohde plenty of first-inning support with four runs, and the left-hander made that lead hold the rest of the way. Senior second baseman Brandon Wang (Mill Creek, Wash./Jackson HS) homered to lead off the game, and CWU also took advantage of two bases-loaded walks and a wild pitch for its four runs.

Montana State Billings never trailed in game one, as the Yellowjackets took an early 6-0 lead after three innings. The Wildcats responded by scoring five runs, of which only two were earned, in the bottom of the third inning, highlighted by a two-run home run by sophomore Ethan Sterkel (Ellensburg, Wash.).

After CWU had tied the score with a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning, MSU Billings took the lead with a single run in the seventh and added two more in the eighth for a 9-6 edge. The Wildcats scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning, and had the tying run on third base with just one out, but Zach Smith struck out the next two CWU hitters to preserve the one-run lead and the eventual 9-8 Yellowjacket victory.

Sterkel, Wang, and juniors Chris Hashimoto (Kirkland, Wash./Lake Washington HS) and Kyle Sani (Kennewick, Wash./Southridge HS) each had two hits in game one.

Brody Miller went 4 for 5 and drove in three runs for Montana State Billings in the opener, helping the Yellowjackets outhit the Wildcats 14-10.

Central Washington will wrap up its 2012 season next weekend with a four-game series at Northwest Nazarene University. The Wildcats and Crusaders will play a pair of doubleheaders, beginning with a Friday (May 11) twinbill that starts at 4 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. The season then concludes on Saturday (May 12) with a noon MDT doubleheader.

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