By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
ADAIR VILLAGE, Ore. -- Whitworth University pitcher Hugh Smith allowed no runs and just two hits while pitching the first six innings to lead the Pirates to a 7-3 win over Willamette University in the first game of a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Saturday, March 3. Smith, now 2-0 on the season, struck out six batters and allowed four walks. Whitworth upped its record to 6-6 overall, including 1-0 in the NWC, while Willamette dropped to 7-8 overall, 3-4 in the NWC.
The second game of the doubleheader was suspended due to impending darkness at the end of the ninth inning with the teams tied at 3-3. The game included solo home runs by Jack Brett (Sr., C, Aurora, CO/Regis Jesuit HS) and Eric Del Prado (Sr., 1B, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) of Willamette and by Taylor Poffenroth of Whitworth. The second game will be completed when the series moves to Roy Helser Field in McMinnville, Oregon, on Sunday, March 4 at 12 p.m. (PST). Willamette and Whitworth will play Sunday's regularly scheduled game once the suspended game has concluded.
Willamette starter Matt Steindorf (Jr., RHP, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) matched Smith by throwing the first six innings of the opener, but gave up three runs on five hits in the top of the second. They were the only runs scored by either team in the first seven innings.
Spencer Locati struck out to begin the second stanza. JT Phelan followed with a single through the left side. Tyler Bailey single to move Phelan to second. Ben Wintringer singled into right field to drive home Phelan with the game's first run. Cody Simmons flied out to second base, and the Bearcats moved within one out of escaping the inning with only one run across the plate. Casey Isa singled to left to load the bases.
Cael McKeirnan was hit by a pitch to force Bailey home. A single by Poffenroth brought in Wintringer to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Smith's success on the mound kept Willamette from reducing Whitworth's advantage before the Pirates added to their lead with three runs in the top of the eighth. Bailey doubled to left center and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Wintringer. Simmons grounded out to shortstop, but hit the ball deep enough that Bailey scored. Later in the inning, Joel Condreay hit a hard grounder near the first base line that troubled Del Prado as he tried to stop the ball for the third out. The misplay resulted in the ball going into the right field foul area, as the Pirates scored two unearned runs.
The Bearcats responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Cameron Igarashi (Sr., RF, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute) and Perry Van Eckhardt (Sr., CF, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) walked. Connor Bailey (Jr., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) followed with an RBI double to right center, with Igarashi scoring and Van Eckhardt taking third base. Del Prado singled through the left side to allow Van Ckehard to score, while Bailey went to third. Brendan Natuzzi (So., UT, Napa, CA/Justin-Siena HS) smacked a sacrifice fly to right field that brought home Bailey, as the Bearcats reduced Whitworth's lead to 6-3.
Phelan hit a leadoff home run to left field in the top of the ninth to score the final run of the first game. Poffenroth was 3 of 4 with an RBI, while Bailey of Whitworth went 3 for 5 with a double and two runs scored. Phelan finished 2 of 5 with his homer and a total of two runs scored. Wintringer and Isa each went 2 of 4 with a run and an RBI.
Bailey of Willamette led the Bearcats by going 2 of 4 with a double, a run scored an an RBI. Van Eckhardt also pounded out a double for the Bearcats.