By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University senior center fielder Connor Bailey (San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS), who already owned the school record for career hits, added a second career record on Saturday, April 20, as he reached 602 at bats for the Bearcats. Bailey earned two hits, two runs and two RBIs in the first game of the doubleheader, but Pacific Lutheran University won both games, 11-6 and 6-1 at John Lewis Field.
Joey Faudskar (Jr., OF/P, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) of Willamette was 3 of 5 with a double in the first game. He finished 4 of 9 for the Bearcats during the doubleheader.
Pacific Lutheran improved to 22-14 overall and to 14-10 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 17-15 overall, 14-10 in the NWC. In the final NWC regular season standings, Willamette, Pacific Lutheran and George Fox University were tied at 14-10.
GFU was the first team eliminated by the head-to-head tie-breaker with a 1-5 record against WU and PLU. The Lutes won the next head-to-head tie-breaker by having a 2-1 record against Willamette. As a result, PLU received the fourth and final berth into the 2019 NWC Baseball Tournament.
Lutes Build 7-0 Lead after Three Innings in Opener
Pacific Lutheran scored four runs in the first inning of the opener and added three runs two innings later for a 7-0 lead. Willamette eventually pulled within 8-5 in the seventh, but the regained command with three runs in the eighth on their way to an 11-6 win.
Tori Doten singled to left to start the game. After Andy Schmitz struck out, Doten stole second. Singles by Marques Carlson and Jacob Bockelie helped Doten round the bases for the Lutes' first run. Later, the bases were loaded when Max Cummings hit a three-run double to right field. In the third inning, Carlson singled and Bockelie belted a two-run homer. Cummings added a solo homer later in the inning, as PLU took a 7-0 led.
Bailey and Brendan Natuzzi (Sr., 3B, Napa, CA/Justin-Siena HS) each hit an RBI single for WU in the bottom of the third. The Lutes added one run in the fifth for an 8-2 advantage, before the Bearcats sent three runners across the plate in the seventh. With one out, Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) singled to right, Bailey walked, and Justin Scanlon (Jr., 2B/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College) hit an infield single toward third base.
The ball was thrown wildly toward first, allowing Janitz to score and leaving runners at second and third. Bailey and Scanlon scored on a single by Cole Pursell (Sr./Jr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS), pulling the Bearcats as close as 8-5. The Lutes scored three runs in the top of the eighth, and Bailey drove in a run for WU with a single in the bottom of the inning.
Carlson was 3 of 5 for PLU with two runs scored. Bockelie went 2 for 4 with his 10th homer of the season, plus two runs and three RBIs. Cummings was 2 for 5 with a triple and a homer, in addition to one run and four RBIs. Faudskar's 3-for-5 effort led Willamette. Janitz, Bailey, Scanlon and Tyler Vandemark (So., LF, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) each recorded two hits.
PLU Breaks 1-1 Tie with 3 Runs in Sixth Inning of Game 2
The Bearcats and the Lutes were tied 1-1 in the second game after five innings. Brandon Nelson (Sr., RHP, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) of Willamette and Tommy Snyder of PLU were battling it out in a pitchers' duel. the Lutes gained the led with three runs in the sixth and added two extra insurance runs in the ninth for a 6-1 win. The first five innings included only four hits for PLU and two hits for the Bearcats.
In the sixth, Doten and Schmitz hit back-to-back singles, before Carlson flied out. Bockelie hit a grounder behind first that led to an errant throw toward second and left the bases loaded. Michael Cesar then drove in Doten with a ground out to first. Austin Gormley drove home Schmitz and Bockelie with a double through the infield near the third base line. The Lutes held a 4-1 lad.
Willamette had just one runner over the next three innings. PLU expanded its lead with a two-run homer by Jordan Haworth in the top of the ninth. Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) and Faudskar each registered a single for Willamette in the bottom of the ninth, but Paguio was thrown out as part of a 4-6-3 double play, and the Bearcats were unable to advance Faudskar before the game ended.
Two Lutes earned two hits. They were Gormley (2 of 3) and Doten (2 of 5). PLU outhit Willamette 9-4 during the game. Willamette's hits were by Janitz, Paguio, Faudskar and Kyle Underwood (So., C, Highland, CA/Citrus Valley HS).
Up Next for Willamette
The Bearcats will play a three-game, non-conference series against George Fox University on Friday, May 3 and Sunday, May 5. On Friday, the Bearcats will host the Bruins in a single game at John Lewis Field starting at 3 p.m. (PDT). On Sunday, George Fox will host a doubleheader in Newberg, Oregon, starting at 12 p.m.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Brandon Nelson pitched well against the Lutes on Saturday.
He matched PLU's Tommy Snyder in a pitchers' duel for the
first five innings. Nelson threw 7 2/3 innings, struck out four
batters and did not have a walk. He gave up four runs, but
only one run was earned. Seventy-seven of his 114 pitches