By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
TACOMA, Wash. -- Brandon Nelson (So., RHP, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) struck out six batters, allowed just seven hits, and did not give up a walk, in a complete-game shutout victory, as Willamette University defeated University of Puget Sound, 6-0, on Sunday, April 9 at Logger Field. The Bearcats won the series two games to one and advanced their record to 23-12 on the season, 15-6 in the NWC. Puget Sound fell to 11-18 overall, 7-13 in the NWC.
Nelson threw 101 pitches, including 77 strikes on his way to the shutout win. He is now 3-3 on the season. Nelson limited the Loggers to six singles and one double.
It was Nelson's second complete-game shutout of the season. He tossed a two-hitter in Willamette's 5-0 win at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) on March 17.
The Bearcats remained in second place in the NWC standings, one-half game behind Linfield College (15-5). The Wildcats defeated Whitworth University, 10-4, on Sunday. Pacific Lutheran University (17-7) completed its NWC schedule on Sunday with an 11-4 win over George Fox University.
In Willamette's win, the Bearcats amassed 10 hits. Perry Van Eckhardt (Jr., CF, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) went 2 for 5 with a run scored, while eight of his teammates each earned one hit. Six Bearcats scored one run. Van Eckhardt and Cameron Igarashi (Jr., RF, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute) each belted a double.
Willamette took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and doubled the lead with two runs in the sixth inning. The Bearcats tallied the final two runs of the game in the top of the ninth.
In the first inning, Troy Conway (Jr., 2B, Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS) started the game with a single through the right side. Van Eckhardt singled to left. Mason Fessler (Jr., INF, Woodburn, OR/Blanchet Catholic School) hit WU's third consecutive single to send Conway across the plate. Later, Van Eckhardt scored on a double-steal.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Eric Del Prado (Jr., 1B, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) singled to right, and Connor Bailey (So., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) singled down the left field line. Cole Pursell (So., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) hit the ball toward second base, but a throwing error allowed Bailey to go to third, while Del Prado scored. Bailey reached home a bit later, when Pursell was caught in a run-down.
Pursell opened the ninth inning with a sigle to left field. Joseph Faudskar (Fr., OF, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) pinch-ran for Pursell and scored on a double by Igrarash down the left field line. Igarashi stole third base. He scored on a passed ball.
Puget Sound left two runners on base in the fourth inning. With one out, Ian Hughes doubled to left center and Matt Shelhammer hit a single right field. Nelson forced James Dejesus to fly out to center and then sruck out Tyler Brazelto to get out of the jam.
Willamette will play a non-conference game against Corban University on Tuesday, April 11 at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. (PDT).