April 10, 2001 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Lloyd Gage pitches a two-hitter but his Eastern Oregon Mountaineers lose, 1-0.

Eastern then blows 6-0 and 8-3 leads, but wins the second game of Tuesdays doubleheader against Northwest Nazarene, 9-8.

Go figure.

Just about everything happened in the two-game set at Snowflake Field, from a run scoring on an error, a balk, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, to a coach getting tossed from the game. Throw in more hecklers than a Subway Series and it was enough to stay warm in the 40-degree temperatures.

Losing the first game of the doubleheader, a makeup of a rained out set last month, was hard to swallow, but Eastern has now won three of its last four games.

Three out of four, well take that, coach Wes McAllaster said. Whod think youd even lose throwing a two-hitter?

Northwest Nazarenes lone run against Gage didnt even come off one of those two hits. Heath Malones fielding error allowed Josh Aipperspach to reach first base to lead off the third inning. Gages wild pitch moved Aipperspach to second, and a balk sent the runner to third. After a ground ball out, Barry Warren popped up to center field, enough so Aipperspach could score.

Easterns offense couldnt do much against Northwest Nazarene pitcher Neil Elder, who walked one and gave up four hits. The best chance came in the third inning, when Devron Carrieres two-out single sent Dan Curfew to third base. The Crusaders escaped with the shutout intact.

We outhit them, and we were always in control, McAllaster said.

The Mountaineers didnt waste time in the second game. Eastern knocked out starter Matt Guthrie after three hits, a walk and a fielding error by left fielder Matt Davis. Tommy Porter had a two-run single in the inning, and Gary Hopfs double off reliever Jason Brunett scored two more runs. Dan Curfews ground ball drove in another run, and Eastern had a 6-0 lead after the first inning.

Northwest Nazarene chipped in three runs before a pair of bases-loaded walks in the fifth inning added two runs to Easterns total for an 8-3 lead.

Eastern starter Ryan Banks pitched six innings, and the Crusaders got to reliever Doug Scott in the seventh and eighth. Northwest Nazarene scored three in the seventh inning on Benji Warrens two-run single and a sacrifice fly from Zac McBride.

Mountaineer errors in the eighth allowed the Crusaders to tie the game. Left fielder Scotty Tondevold let a ball get by him that brought Ruben Burciaga home, and a ground ball got by second baseman Hopf to allow Brendan Smith in.

Doug doesnt usually work in that role, so that was unusual for him, McAllaster said. Travis Pool got the final four outs for his first win of the season.

Porters one-out double in the bottom of the eighth set up Easterns winning run. Courtesy runner Danny Jacques moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored when catcher Benji Warrens throw was wild.

The game featured Northwest Nazarene coach Tim Onofrei getting thrown out for arguing a call in the fourth inning. The teams had confrontations in the third and fourth innings, but nothing was exchanged except words and dirty looks.

Hopf was 3-for-3 in the second game, with Kelly Hood and Porter both going 2-for-4. Curfew had two RBIs, as did Porter and Hopf.

Easterns homestand concludes Saturday and Sunday with a four-game series against Central Washington.

Northwest Nazarene 001 000 0 1 2 0

Eastern Oregon 000 000 0 0 4 3

Elder and Be.Warren; Gage and Porter. WP Elder (3-6). LP Gage (2-4).

Eastern Oregon hits Curfew, Carriere, Tondevold, Malone. 2B Curfew, Tondevold.

NW Nazarene 002 100 320 8 11 3

Eastern Oregon 600 020 01x 9 8 4

Guthrie, Brunett (1), Frasnelly (5) and Be.Warren; Banks, Scott (7), Pool (8) and Porter. WP Pool (1-5). LP Frasnelly (0-8).

Eastern Oregon hits Curfew, Hood 2, Porter 2, Hopf 3. 2B Porter, Hopf 2. RBI Curfew 2, Hood, Porter 2, Hopf 2. SB Jacques 3, Acosta.