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Mixing two outstanding pitching performances with 22 hits is a recipe for success when trying to sweep a baseball doubleheader.

Taylor Davis tossed a four-hitter in the opener, and Tyler Parsons allowed six hits in the nightcap as second-ranked Lower Columbia College swept fourth-ranked Pierce 4-1 and 6-2 in NWAC West Region play on Friday at David Story Field.

The sweep keeps LCC (23-5, 10-1 region) tied with Tacoma (10-1) atop the West Region standings. Pierce slipped two games back at 8-3.

“Taylor and Tyler each did a very good job,” LCC coach Eddie Smith said. “We didn’t give up a walk or hit a batter all day. They did a good job attacking the zone, and didn’t give up any free 90s (walks).”

The Devils jumped on Pierce for three runs in the first inning of the opener, highlighted by an infield single from Jordan Barchus, and a two-run single by Kyle Sandstrom. This was more than adequate run support for Davis, who tossed 66 of his 99 pitches for strikes and struck out four.

The performance by Davis backed-up last week’s effort which earned him NWAC Player of the Week accolades. The sophomore from Federal Way is now tied for the conference lead in victories with six, and is third among the Red Devils in hitting at .350.

LCC finished with 11 hits as Barchus, Trevor Huddleston and Chase Hodgkinson had two apiece.

“Our approach was to win every pitch,” Smith said. “We did a really good job having that approach. You won’t hit every pitch, but that’s the goal. If you have that mentality, you’ll be more successful.”

The Devils carried the hitting mentality over to the nightcap, where they also collected 11 hits. JT Strickler clubbed a double, triple and scored twice, and Barchus and Huddleston added two hits and two RBIs apiece.

The two hits gave Strickler, a redshirt freshman catcher from Meridian, Idaho, a .422 batting average, second-best in the NWAC.

“They stayed with the hitting approach well, particularly in the second game,” Smith said. “Now, they can rest for 18 hours before we’re back at it again. That’s the mindset of not taking a pitch off, and they’ve done a good job with that.”

An RBI single from Barchus drove in Strickler in the first inning, and the Devils took the lead for good in the second inning when they parlayed a Steve Robinson single, two Pierce errors and a two-run single from Huddleston into a 3-0 lead. The game’s big blow came in the fourth inning when Todd Reese clubbed a 2-0 fastball into the left field bullpen for a 5-0 advantage.

The run support was more than adequate for Kelso graduate Parsons, who threw 58 of his 83 pitches for strikes, and struck out two.

“Everyone made a big deal out of these games, but we’ve played 26 games before this and they’re all big deals,” Smith said. “The big thing for us is to focus on the specific pitch, and not worry about fans, parents and the media and what they say.”

The Red Devils visit Pierce for a doubleheader at Mount Tahoma High School today.

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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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