By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
TACOMA, Wash. -- The Bearcats pounded out 17 hits and Matt Steindorf (Sr., RHP, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) struck out seven batters over the first seven innings to send Willamette University to a 13-0 win over University of Puget Sound in the first game of a three-game Northwest Conference series on Saturday, Feb. 23. In the second game, Puget Sound scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and held a 12-2 lead after six innings when play was suspended due to darkness.
Willamette and Puget Sound will resume the second game at 11 a.m. (PST) on Sunday, Feb. 24, before starting the third game of the series. At the end of Saturday's first game, Willamette was 4-2 overall, 1-0 in the NWC. Puget Sound was 1-6 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.
In the first game, Connor Bailey (Sr., CF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) of Willamette was 3 for 3 with a single, a triple and a home run for three-fourths of the cycle. He scored five runs and had five RBIs, as he was involved in 77% of WU's run total. He walked twice, stole two bases and earned a sacrifice fly on offense, while recording two putouts on defense.
Cole Pursell (Sr./Jr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) went 3 of 4 at the plate for the Bearcats, with two doubles a run and two RBIs. Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) finished 3 for 6 with a run and an RBI, while Tyler Vandemark (So., LF, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) was 2 for 4 with a double, one run and two RBIs. Joey Faudskar (Jr., OF/P, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) went 2 of 4 and scored twice.
"Great team win," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said regarding the first game. "We played well in all three phases (pitching, offense, defense). Matt had another outstanding start. Lots of players contributed throughout the lineup. Connor and Cole had excellent games offensively."
In addition to lots of offense in the first game, the Bearcats also received strong play from the pitching staff. Steindorf, 2-0, allowed five hits and no walks in his seven innings. He is tied with Abe Cohen (1994-97) for second on WU's all-time list with 27 career wins. Nolan Boggini (Jr., RHP, El Dorado Hills, CA/Oak Ridge HS) threw the eighth inning and Jason Snare (So., LHP, Seattle, WA/Bainbridge Island HS) pitched the ninth. Boggini struck out two batters with one hit and one walk. Snare registered one strikeout and did not allow a hit.
Bailey walked, stole second and scored on a double by Pursell in the top of the first inning to bring home the game's initial run. In the third inning, Faudskar hit a leadoff single and later scored with two outs when Bailey smacked a two-run homer to left field.
Willamette gradually increased its 3-0 lead to 9-0 by scoring one run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, followed by two runs in the seventh and one run in the eighth. In the fourth, Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Vandemark. In the fifth, Justin Scanlon (Jr., 2B/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College) reached first and second on an error and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Bailey.
The sixth inning featured an RBI single by Scanlon to drive in Vandemark. During the seventh inning, Fischel hit an RBI single and Vandemark provided a sacrifice fly. Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) recorded an RBI single in the eighth.
WU completed the first game's scoring barrage with four runs in the ninth. Janitz drove in the first run on a single to left. Bailey sent two runs across the plate with a triple to left, and Pusell brought in the final run with a double to left.
Puget Sound earned six hits in the opener. Mason Quinlan led the Loggers by going 2 for 4. Starting pitcher Joe Brennan fell to 0-2 after allowing 11 hits and six runs -- five earned -- in six innings. He registered six strikeouts.
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Connor Bailey had multiple Big Moments for Willamette in the first
game. He was 3 for 3 at the plate with three-fourths of the cycle
after hitting a single, a triple and a home run. The two-run homer
in the third inning was a Big Moment for sure, but it's difficult to
ignore his five runs, five RBIs, two walks, two stolen bases, and
a sacrifice fly. Wow!