By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to expand a 4-0 lead, and the Sagehens went on to down Willamette University, 17-0, on Sunday, Feb. 5. Pomona-Pitzer upped its record to 3-1, while the Bearcats completed their California trip at 2-2.
Tanner Nishioka provided the big hit of the seventh inning when he blasted a grand slam home run to center field. Nishioka was 3 for 4 on the day. Cade Hulse went 4 of 5 at the plate with two doubles and three runs scored for the Sagehens. Matt Omori was 2 for 4 with two doubles, three runs and two RBIs. The Sagehens recorded 22 hits overall.
Willamette was limited to six hits, all against Pomona-Pitzer starter Nicholas Radich, who pitched the first seven innings. Radich gave up three walks and struck out two batters, while keeping WU off the scoreboard. He moved to 1-0 on the season.
Troy Conway (Jr., 2B, Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS) led the Bearcats by going 2 for 3 with a walk. Kyle Paguio (So., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS), Mason Fessler (Jr., 1B/DH, Woodburn, OR/Blanchet Catholic School), Tyler Janitz (So., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) and Joseph Faudskar (Fr., OF, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) each recorded one hit.
Pomona-Pitzer took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Ezra Steinberg reached first on a throwing error from third base. Nishioka followed with a single to center field, but was thrown out at second, while Steinberg advanced to third on the play. Bryce Rogan drove in Steinberg with a single to left.
In the top of the second, Willamette threatened to tie the score. Janitz singled to center field with two outs. Faudskar reached first base when the pitcher threw a wild pitch for a third strike. Janitz, who was already stealing second base, went to third on the wild pitch. Radish struck out Cameron Igarashi (Jr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute) to end the inning.
WU also left two runners on base in the top of the third. Paguio hit a bunt single, but was later picked off. Connor Bailey (So., OF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) walked, and then went to second on a wild pitch. Bailey advanced to third when Fessler walked on a wild pitch. Eric Del Prado (Jr., 1B/DH, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) grounded out to first base, as Pomona kept its 1-0 lead.
The Sagehens put up two runs in the fourth inning. Omori walked to start the inning and Nolan McCafferty hit an infield single to shortstop. Jack Hanley reached base on a throwing error, allowing Omori to score and McCaffferty to reach third base. Adam Hinsthorne brought home McCafferty with a sacrifice bunt.
McCafferty added an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. The Sagehens took control of the game with their 10-run outburst in the seventh inning.
In addition to Nishioka's grand slam, other extra-base hits for Pomona-Pitzer in the bottom of the seventh were a lead-off double by Hulse, an RBI double by Omori that allowed Hulse to score, and another RBI double by Omori later in the inning.
Willamette starter Brandon Nelson (So., RHP, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) pitched 4 1/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and four runs, but gave up just two earned run. He struck out two batters and walked three Sagehens. Nelson, making his first appearance of the year, fell to 0-1.
Dylan Ross (Fr., RHP, Malibu, CA/ Malibu HS) pitched the next 1 2/3 innings for Willamette. He allowed two hits and one run, while recording one strikeouts. Two other Bearcats combined to pitch the final two innings.
The Bearcats will play University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Feb. 11 in a neutral-site game at Wilsonville High School in Wilsonville, Oregon. Game time is set for 2 p.m. (PDT). Also on Saturday in Wilsonville, Puget Sound will take on Whitworth University at 11 a.m., while Whitworth and Lewis & Clark College will play at 5 p.m. All of the games will be non-conference games.