By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Willamette University scored three runs in the fourth inning and three runs in the seventh inning on its way to a 10-4 win over Linfield College on Saturday, Feb. 18 in the second game of a doubleheader at Roy Helser Field. The Bearcats recorded a total of 14 hits during the game. Willamette won the first game, 4-3, after scoring the tying and winning runs in the ninth inning.
The Bearcats advanced their record to 6-4 on the season, including 2-1 in the Northwest Conference. Linfield slipped to 3-4 overall, 1-2 in the NWC.
Five Willamette players each earned two hits in the second game. Jack Brett (Jr., C, Aurora, CO/Regis Jesuit HS) had just one hit, but it was a solo homer to center field with one out in the top of the second inning that reduced an early Linfield lead to 2-1.
In the fourth inning, the Bearcats pounded out three hits. Kyle Paguio (So., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) batted first and sent a bunt single toward third base. One out later, he stole second base. Mason Fessler (Jr., 1B/DH, Woodburn, OR/Blanchet Catholic School) walked. With two outs, Eric Del Prado (Jr., 1B/DH, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) hit a two-run double to center field.
Del Prado went to third base on a wild pitch. He scored when Tyler Janitz (So., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) doubled down the right field line. WU led 4-2.
Linfield picked up a run in the fifth inning when Brady Rediger walked to open the stanza and Ryan Pladson drove him across the plate two outs later on a double near the left field line.
The Bearcats returned to a two-run lead at 5-3 when Fessler singled to start the sixth inning, went to second on a passed ball, and later scored with two outs. Janitz drove in Fessler with a single to right.
Willamette's three runs in the top of the seventh were recorded with the help of four hits and one error. Conway got the rally underway with a one-out single to center. Paguio singled to left. Both runners advanced on a throw from the pitcher that was misplayed by the second baseman.
Connor Bailey (So., OF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) drove in Conway and Paguio with a double to left. Bailey scored on a single to center by Fessler. The Bearcats took an 8-3 lead into the bottom of the inning.
The Bearcats added a single run in each of their final two at bats for a 10-3 advantage.
In the eighth, Joseph Faudskar (Fr., OF, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) hit a leadoff single, reached second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a ground out by Conway, and scored on another wild pitch. In the ninth, Brett walked, went to second on a ground out by Del Prado, and scored two batters later on a double by Perry Van Eckhardt (Jr., CF, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS).
Linfield tallied the game's final run in the bottom of the ninth.
Bailey, Del Prado, Janitz and Van Eckhardt all doubled for the Bearcats. Janitz finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a walk. Fessler was 2 for 4 with two runs, one RBI and a walk. Connor Bailey (So., OF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) went 2 for 5 with a run and two RBIs, while Conway and Paguio each went 2 for 6. Conway scored once and Paguio scored twice.
For the Wildcats, Rediger was 2 for 4 with two runs and a walk. Ben Andrews was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Scott Hilpert was 2 for 5 with a run scored.
Willamette's starting pitcher, Benjamin Whitten (Fr., RHP, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) tossed the first five innings. He allowed six hits and three runs, while recording four strikeouts and two walks. He improved to 3-0. Jett Gallagher (Jr., RHP, Santa Cruz, CA/Santa Cruz HS) threw four innings to earn his second save.
The Bearcats will return to action next weekend with a three-game NWC series against Pacific University at John Lewis Field. The teams will play two games on Saturday, Feb. 25, starting at 11 a.m. (PST), followed by a single game on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. It will be the first time Willamette has played at home this season.