By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications, (503) 370-6110
SALEM, Ore. -- Starting pitchers Brandon Nelson (Jr., RHP, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) and Matt Steindorf (Jr., RHP, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) each threw a complete game for Willamette University as the Bearcats won both halves of a doubleheader against Swarthmore College (Pa.), 7-4 and 10-2, on Saturday, March 17 at John Lewis Field. The second game was stopped due to rain after 7 1/2 innings.
The Bearcats advanced their record to 12-11 on the season. Swarthmore fell to 9-5.
While Nelson was pitching nine innings in the opener, the Willamette offense was amassing 11 hits. Five runs in the sixth inning allowed the Bearcats to rally from a 3-2 deficit and take a 7-3 lead.
In the second game, Steindorf threw all eight innings until the game was ended by rain. Meanwhile, the Bearcats pounded out 10 hits. The Bearcats scored six runs in the second inning to surge into a 6-0 lead. Swarthmore tallied two runs in the top of the fourth, but Willamette added three runs in the bottom of the fourth and another run in the fifth.
Nelson allowed 10 hits and four runs -- three earned -- while striking out six batters and giving up one walk. He threw 119 pitches. The Garnet earned five hits off Steindorf and scored two runs. Steindorf threw 103 pitches and struck out four batters, while allowing no walks. Willamette's offense scored 17 runs and earned 21 hits on the day. The Bearcats swept the three-game series.
"It was great to put three complete games together," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said. "We had a number of contributors on offense, threw a ton of strikes, and played outstanding defense."
Connor Bailey (Jr., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) was 3 of 6 on the day for the Bearcats with a two-run homer in the third inning of the first game and a two-run triple in the fourth inning of the second game. He drove in a total of six runs, with three RBIs in each game.
Willamette will play at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon, on Tuesday, March 20 against Lewis & Clark College in a non-conference game. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. (PDT).
Bailey Blasts Sixth Homer of Season as Bearcats Win 7-4
In the first game, Swarthmore score once in the first inning and once in the third inning for a 2-0 advantage. AJ Liu doubled to left field to open the game. He went to third on a single by Cole Beeker and scored when Conor Elliott reached base on a fielder's choice. In the top of the third, Liu walked with one out. Charles Levitt singled through the left side, and Liu beat the throw to third. The Bearcats tried to throw out Levitt on his way to second base, but the throw went into the outfield and Liu scored an unearned run.
Willamette tied the game in the bottom of the third. Cameron Igarashi (Sr., RF, Honolulu, HI/Mid-Pacific Institute) singled with one out, and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Troy Conway (Sr., 2B, Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS). Bailey batted next and belted a home run over the fence in right center. It was his sixth home run of the season and the 13th of his Willamette career.
The score remained 2-2 until the top of the sixth. Beeker singled with one out for the Garnet and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Beeker scored on a single to right by Elliott, giving Swarthmore a 3-2 edge
In the bottom of the inning, Willamette scored five runs to grab a 7-3 lead. All off the offense occurred with two outs. Perry Van Eckhardt (Sr., CF, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) singled and stole second. Tyler Janitz (Jr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) hit a pitch toward second, but the second baseman threw wide of first for an error. Van Eckhardt scored on the play. Later, Igarashi pounded out a two-RBI single to right and Bailey added an RBI single to center. All five runs were unearned against Swarthmore's team total.
The Garnet plated one run in the eighth inning, but it wasn't enough, as the Bearcats won, 7-4. Bailey led the offense by going 2 of 3 with a homer, one run, a walk and three RBIs. Igrashi was 2 for 4, scored twice, drove in two runs and was hit by a pitch. Brendan Natuzzi (So., UT, Napa, CA/Justin-Siena HS) and Mason Fessler (Sr., DH/INF, Woodburn, OR/Blanchet Catholic School) each went 2 of 4. Fessler also scored a run and recorded one RBI.
Beeker went 3 of 4 with two runs scored for Swarthmore. Liu was 1 of 4 with a double, one walk and two runs scored.
Eight Bearcats Earn a Hit as WU Wins Second Game, 10-2
The second game featured at least one hit from eight Willamette players. Van Eckhardt was 2 of 2 with three runs scored an an RBI. Conway finished 2 of 4 with a run and two RBIs. Bialey went 1 for 3 with a two-run triple and a total of three RBIs.
Willamette took control with six runs in the bottom of the second inning for a 6-0 lead. Eric Del Prado (Sr., 1B, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) started the action with a double to right field. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Natuzzi. Jack Brett (Sr., C, Aurora, CO/Regis Jesuit HS) followed with a double down the right field line to drive in Del Prado with the game's first run. After Janitz singled to put runners at first and third, Van Eckhardt added a single through the right side, allowing Brett to score. Fessler walked to load the bases.
Igarashi hit a fielder's choice toward the shortstop, who threw wildly toward second, allowing Fessler to reach the base and advance to third. Janitz and Van Eckhardt scored. Conway singled to left field advanced to second on the throw home as Fessler scored. Bailey drove in Igarashi with a sacrifice fly to center. Two of the six runs were unearned.
Swarthmore scored twice in the top of the fourth when Liu hit a leadoff single and Levitt followed with a two-run homer to right center.
The Bearcats responded quickly by plating three runs in the bottom of the inning. Van Eckhardt singled to start the frame, stole second, and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Fessler. After Igarashi walked, Van Eckhardt scored on a single by Conway. Bailey drove home Igarashi and Conway by powering a triple into left center.
Van Eckhardt scored the game's final run in the fifth inning. He reached base on catcher's interference and crossed the plate with an unearned run later in the inning on a wild pitch.