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It’s not that Lower Columbia College failed to get baserunners on, it was more the case of not getting hits in key moments.

The sixth-ranked Red Devils were walked 11 times and collected seven hits, but dropped a 10-2 decision to fifth-ranked Tacoma in a NWAC West Region matchup on Friday at David Story Field.

The loss dropped LCC to 9-5, 0-1 in the region.

“It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities today,” LCC coach Eric Lane said. “We had a lot of guys on base as they (the Titans) walked some guys which is uncharacteristic, but we didn’t take advantage.”

LCC failed to capitalize with the bases loaded in the first, sixth and seventh innings, grounded into inning-ending double plays in the second, third and sixth innings, and left a dozen baserunners stranded.

“It’s great to get baserunners, but you have to capitalize,” Lane said. “If you don’t do that against a great opponent, it will come back to bite you. Hopefully we learned from this, and get some key hits in key moments.”

Trailing 4-0 in the sixth inning, LCC third baseman Drew Barlow coaxed a one out, bases-loaded walk off Tacoma reliever Alex McBee which plated JT Strickler, who walked to open the inning. The good times quickly vanished when Chase Hodkinson grounded into an inning-ending double play three pitches later.

With one out in the seventh, the Devils loaded the bases with an infield single sandwiched between two walks, but had to settle for one run after a sacrifice fly and a ground out. Tacoma parlayed six hits and two errors into six runs in the eighth inning off three Devils’ relievers, and the hosts offered no response.

“We have a lot of young guys and the games are starting to matter, and a lot of these guys were exposed,” Lane said. “They got some experience in a high intensity game, but we didn’t bring the intensity. We were dominated in all aspects of the game.”

Devils’ starter Yancy Bird lasted 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, a walk and two hit batters.

Mitch Lines tossed four innings of six-hit relief with three strikeouts, and was followed by Derek Downey (three batters), Travis Paynter (2/3 inning), and James Grubb (one inning). The foursome, all freshmen, combined to give up eight runs on nine hits.

Sam Trend-Beacom collected a pair of hits, Kyle Sandstrom had two hits including a triple and walked twice, Ricky Muzzy had a double, and Strickler added a hit and three walks.

“I told the guys after the game that every goal we have set forth is still intact,” Lane said. “We face them again in a couple weeks, and we have to make adjustments along with getting the younger guys to play with more energy.

“Playing on your heels in your own ballpark isn’t a good sign.”

The Red Devils host Grays Harbor today.

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Sports Reporter

Rick is a 29-year veteran of The Daily News, and the lead Lower Columbia College athletics reporter. In addition, he tracks former area prep athletes and assists several other beats. He is a Mark Morris grad with a business management degree from LCC.

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