By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Sam Hudd (Sr./Jr., 1B, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) of Willamette University went 5 for 6 on offense against Oregon Institute of Technology during a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 27 at John Lewis Field, but the Owls downed the Bearcats, 10-6 and 4-0. The second game featured a one-hour, 30-minute rain delay and was shortened to seven innings.
While Hudd picked up the most hits for the Bearcats, teammate Cole Pursell (Sr./Jr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) had the longest hit, a solo home run in the ninth inning of the first game. Hudd and Connor Bailey (Sr., CF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) each belted a double during the first game.
Oregon Tech upped its record to 8-25 on the season. Willamette fell to 11-12.
Bearcats and Owls Combine for 31 Hits in First Game
In the first game, Oregon Tech amassed 17 hits and the Bearcats registered 14 hits and benefited from four errors by the Owls. It was the highest total of combined hits (31) for the Bearcats and their opponents this season, topping the previous high of 29 in the first game against Whitworth University on March 16.
The Owls struck first, as they plated three runs in the top of the first inning on two hits and four walks. The final two walks forced in the second and third runs with one out. A pop-up to second and flyout to left field ended the threat. In the bottom of the first, Willamette scored twice to pull within 3-2. Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) began the at bat with a single up the middle, and then Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) walked. After each runner advanced a base, Pursell connected on a two-run single to left.
WU tied the game in the third stanza, after Bailey started the inning with a double. Two outs later, Sean Little (So., RF, Corvallis, OR/Crescent Valley HS) moved Bailey to third with an infield single. Bailey scored and Little advanced to second on a double-steal.
Oregon Tech broke the tie and grabbed a 7-3 lead in the top of the sixth. The Owls recorded five hits, including an RBI single by Alex Malcolm to bring in the first run. Josh Kallstrom hit a sacrifice fly and Andy Schubert hit an RBI single. The fourth run was scored by Malcolm when Michael Tarakhchyan was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Later, the Owls scored two runs in the eighth and Willamette added one run in the bottom of the inning. In the ninth, Micah Jio blasted a solo home run for Oregon Tech, and Pursell smacked a solo homer for WU. Also in the bottom of the ninth, Brendan Natuzzi (Sr., 3B, Napa, CA/Justin-Siena HS) singled to center and eventually scored on a single by Hudd.
Jio went 5 for 6 during the game for Oregon Tech. He scored three runs. Schubert was 3 of 4 with three RBIs. Austin Zavala was 3 of 5 and scored three times. Tarakhchyan also earned three RBIs on a walk, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly, but did not have a base hit. Hudd finished the game 3 of 4 for the Bearcats with a run, a walk and an RBI. Pursell was 3 of 5 with a run and three RBIs, while Paguio went 3 of 5 and scored one run.
Lengthy Rain Delay Shortens Second Game to Seven Innings
The second game was tied 0-0 in the bottom of the second inning when action was suspended for a one-hour, 30-minute rain delay. Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) was at third and Kyle Underwood (So., C, Highland, CA/Citrus Valley HS) was at second, while Hudd had a 3-1 count. When play resumed, Hudd walked on the first pitch. Oregon Tech pitcher John Schulz, who entered the game following the rain delay, registered a strikeout to end the inning.
It was the second inning in a row that ended with the bases loaded for the Bearcats. With one out in the first, Hudd singled through the right side. One out later, Pursell reached base on a dropped fly ball at shortstop. Natuzzi then singled to right. Oregon Tech starter Ian Peters earned a strikeout to escape the jam.
In the top of the third, Tarakhchyan hit a leadoff single. He went to second on a wild pitch, and gave Oregon Tech a 1-0 lead when Xzavian Gonzales doubled to left center.
Oregon Tech tacked on two runs in the sixth on a single by Malcolm and a two-run homer to left field by Zavala. The Owls plated one run in the seventh on an RBI double by Jio to complete the scoring.
The Owls outhit Willamette by a slim 6-5 margin. Zavala was 2 for 3 at the plate, and four owls each had one hit. For the Bearcats, Hudd was 2 for 2 with a walk, while Natuzzi, Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) and Kyle Underwood (So., C, Highland, CA/Citrus Valley HS) each contributed a base hit.
John Schulz (2-4) earned the pitching win with 2 1/3 scoreless and hitless inning of middle relief. Willamette starter Nolan Boggini (Jr., RHP, El Dorado Hills, CA/Oak Ridge HS), who did not allow a hit in the first two innings prior to the rain delay, gave up the game's first run in the third innng and fell to 0-1 with the loss.
Up Next for Willamette
The Bearcats will host Northwest Conference rival Pacific University in three games this weekend at John Lewis Field. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 30 and will continue with a single game on Sunday, March 31. First pitch each day is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Cole Pursell blasted a solo home run for the Bearcats in
the top of the ninth inning of the first game. It was his
third home run of the season. Pursell was 3 for 5 during
the game with a run and three RBIs.