By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
TACOMA, Wash. -- Willamette University belted 15 hits, including two homers by Cole Pursell (Sr.Jr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) and one homer each by Connor Bailey (Sr., CF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) and Eric Waldichuk (Fr., 1B, San Diego, CA/University City HS), to grab a 10-5 victory over University of Puget Sound on Sunday, Feb. 24 in the third game of a Northwest Conference series. Puget Sound won the second game, which was suspended on Saturday with the Loggers leading 12-2 after six innings. The game was resumed on Sunday prior to the third game, but neither team scored in the final three innings.
The Bearcats advanced their record to 5-3 on the season, including 2-1 in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats won the first game in the weekend series, 13-0, on Saturday.
Bearcats Take Series with 10-5 Win over Loggers
Four home runs in Sunday's regularly scheduled game provided Willamette with plenty of momentum to win the game and the three-game series. Pursell's two home runs helped him finish 3 for 5 during the game with two runs scored and three RBIs. Bailey was 2 of 4 with three runs, a homer and one RBI. Waldichuk, who hit his first collegiate home run in the fifth inning, was 2 of 4 overall with a run and three RBIs.
Other top batters in Willamette's 15-hit attack were Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B/3B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) and Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS). Fischel was 3 for 5, scored twice and earned one RBI. Paguio was 2 for 6 and was the only Bearcat to bat more than five times.
Willamette plated one run in each of the first three innings.
In the first, Bailey homered to left center with two outs. Bailey is now tied for fourth with Max Stepan (2008-11) on Willamette'a all-time list with 25 career home runs. In the second, Fischel singled to start the inning and later scored on a sacrifice by Sean Little (So., UT, Corvallis, OR/Crescent Valley HS). In the third, Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) sinlged with one out, went to second on a throwing error by the catcher, reached third on a passed all, and scored on a single by Fischell.
The lead expanded to 8-0 when the Bearcats tallied five runs in the top of the fifth. The inning began with a single by Bailey, before Pursell blasted a two-run homer to left field. Later in the inning, Waldichuck smacked a three-run homer to left field. Pursell added his second home run in as many innings in the sixth. His solo shot as the leadoff batter allowed Willamette's advantage to reach 9-0.
Puget Sound scored five times in the seventh inning to reduce the margin to 9-5. The Loggers took advantage of three walks, three hits and a wild pitch during the inning. The big hit for Puget Sound was a double by Jack Gries that drove in the third and fourth runs.
Bailey walked to start the top of the eighth for WU. With two outs, he stole second, and then scored on a double down the left field line by Justin Scanlon (Jr., 2B/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College).
Joey Faudskar (Jr., OF/P, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) who went to the mound for Willamette with two outs in the seventh, faced just three Loggers in the eighth. Brandon Murillo (So., RHP, Rancho Cucamonga, CA/Los Osos HS) pitched in the ninth inning and also faced three batters. WU starter Nathan Gilman (Sr., RHP, Chino Hills, CA/Diamond Ranch HS) went five innings and improved to 1-0 with the win. Puget Sound starter Makoa Mau, 0-1, took the loss.
Puget Sound Wins Suspended Game, 12-2
The Loggers scored seven runs in the first inning of the second game of the series. They led 12-2 after four innings, and remained in front by the same score when the game was suspended Saturday evening due to darkness. When play resumed on Sunday, Willamette registered four hits in the final three innings, but the score held, as Puget Sound won 12-2.
For the game, Puget Sound outhit the Bearcats by a slim 12-11 margin, but Willamette stranded 15 runners. The Loggers left nine runners on base.
During the first inning on Saturday, Puget Sound connected on four hits, and benefited from four walks and a hit batsman. Kyle Strash was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Connor Dunn drove in Strash with a triple to center. Later, Gries belted a two-run double. Strash batted a second time in the inning and hit an RBI double to bring in the seventh run.
Janitz drove in a run for WU in the second with a bases-loaded single through the left side, but Puget Sound tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning and produced another run in the third. Janitz added an RBI double for the Bearcats in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, the Loggers scored three runs, including two on a double by Hunter Riley.
Strash was 2 for 3 with three runs scored, a double and an RBI. Dunn finished 2 of 3 with a double, while scoring twice and driving in one run. Gries went 2 of 5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.
Four Bearcats earned two or more hits. Janitz was 3 of 5 with a double and two RBIs. Bailey also hit a double, while going 2 for 5 at the plate. Little went 2 for 2 with one double. Sam Hudd (Sr./Jr., INF, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) was 2 of 4 with a run scored.
Willamette will host Lewis & Clark College in NWC action on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3. The teams are scheduled to play two games on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. (PST), followed by one game on Sunday at 12 p.m.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Cole Pursell smacked a two-run homer early in the fifth inning
to give Willamette a 5-0 lead in the final game of the series. The
Bearcats went on to score a total of five runs during the inning for
an 8-0 lead. Pursell hit a solo home run to start the sixth inning.
For the game, he was 3 for 5 with two runs and three RBIs.