PENDLETON - A solid pitching performance from Adam Whelan helped the Pendleton Buckaroos take care of La Grande 10-3 Thursday in a non-league game at Bob White Park.
Whelan threw six innings, fanned seven batters, surrendered four hits and allowed one earned run-helping the Bucks improve to 2-0.
"Adam did a good job and threw a lot of strikes," Pendleton head coach Steve Cary said.
Whelan wasted little time establishing himself in the first inning, retiring the side on three strikeouts.
"I kind of wanted to get them back on their heels to start the game," Whelan said. "I was just concentrating on throwing strikes."
The Bucks, fired up from Whelan's quick start, put a run on the board in the bottom of the first after Van Cleave singled, stole second and a Tiger error allowed the Bucks to take a 1-0 lead off Kenny Haggerty.
The Tigers struggled at the plate and Whelan mowed through three straight batters in the second, had little trouble in the third and picked up his fourth strikeout in the fourth inning.
"It wasn't bad," Whelan said. "I'm not totally satisfied, but it's expected this early."
Haggerty settled down and caught two Bucks looking at strikes to open the second, but Pendleton rallied for three runs.
Jon Levy and Nathan Oliver started the two-out rally with back-to-back singles and Joel Gilliland drove two runs in with a double to left-center field. Van Cleave answered with a single of his own and picked up an RBI as well.
"Our goal is to look better with each game," Cary said. "We had a lot of balls hit very hard."
The lumber was working for the Bucks in the third inning as Pendleton batted around the order, adding six runs to the scoreboard.
Dusty Alberts blasted a double to right after Stuart Swearingen singled to ignite the third inning rally. C.J. Cambier followed with a double to right, driving in Alberts and Cambier.
"We spread the hits out," Cary explained. "If we're swinging the bats and making contact, good things normally happen."
After Haggerty drilled two Buck batters, singles from Gilliland and Brian Nooy added three more runs in the third.
Gilliland scored two runs and drove in three runs in his 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
Whelan hit some trouble in the fifth but escaped with a dead ball appeal for the third out of the inning after La Grande's Travis Turner failed to touch third base.
"Adam got tired towards the end. We we're trying to extend him a little," Cary said.
The Bucks will host Centennial, Idaho, for a pair of non-league games at noon Saturday.
"They're usually pretty solid," Cary added. "They'll give us all they can handle."
Brenton Dowdy was 3-for-4 at the plate, including a double and Derek Moore pitched three hitless innings in relief for the Tigers.