By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Starting pitcher Nathan Gilman (Sr., RHP, Chino Hills, CA/Diamond Ranch HS) threw seven scoreless innings for Willamette University and received strong play from his defense on Sunday, March 3, as the Bearcats shut out Lewis & Clark College, 6-0, in Northwest Conference action at John Lewis Field. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Willamette earned two hits and took advantage of three L&C errors to bring four runs across the plate. The Bearcats tacked on two runs in the seventh.
Willamette swept the three-game series from the Pioneers. The Bearcats opened the series with wins of 17-3 and 9-5 on Saturday, March 2. During the three games, Willamette scored 32 runs (10.7 avg.).
Gilman allowed seven hits, while striking out three batters with no walks. WU forced L&C to leave at least one runner on base in six of the first seven innings, as Gilman and the Bearcats kept stopping threats . Gilman, 2-0, retired the side in order in the third inning and faced just four batters in the first inning and the fourth through seventh innings. He faced five batters in the second inning, when runner's interference resulted in a double play to end the inning.
"Nathan pitched extremely well," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said. "We played good defense and had a few timely hits. It was good to play well at home."
The ability of Gilman to limit L&C to one hit in most innings, let his defense make key plays. With two outs in the first, L&C had runners at first and third. Sam Helms tried to steal second, perhaps to allow Matt Donovan to score. Helms was thrown out 2-6-3 without Donovan scoring. With one out in the second, Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) was attempting to turn a 4-6-3 double play when Tyler Gannon was called for runner's interference. The call meant Gannon and batter Jacob Serafini were out.
When the Pioneers had a runner in scoring position with just one out in the fourth and fifth innings, Gilman forced ground outs to keep L&C off the scoreboard. In the sixth L&C had a runner at first with two outs, but a fielder's choice toward Janitz led to the final out at second. In the seventh, Gannon doubled with one out, but Gilman again found a way to force L&C into back-to-back ground outs to end the inning.
All of Willamette's defensive work meant that the score was still 0-0 when the Bearcats went to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, despite gathering only two hits of their own over the first five innings against L&C starter Andrew Yarak. Willamette began to produce key offensive plays in the sixth inning, while the Pioneers committed three errors.
Janitz singled through the right side to start the inning. The ball was then misplayed in right field, which allowed Janitz to move to second. Justin Scanlon (Jr., 2B/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College) batted next and was hit by a pitch. Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) sent a short sacrifice bunt toward Yarak, who threw wildly to first. Fischel reach base, Scanlon advance to third and Janitz scored.
Robert Reaser went to the mound for Yarak. Scanlon stole home on a double-steal while Fischel went to second. One pitch later, Fischel was picked off at second. Sean Little (So., INF, Corvallis, OR/Crescent Valley HS) walked, stole second and scored for a 3-0 lead on a double to left center by Eric Waldichuk (Fr., 1B, San Diego, CA/University City HS).
Tyler Vandemark (So., LF, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) field out to right field, allowing Waldichuk to reach third. Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) hit a fly ball to center field that was dropped. Waldichuk scored on the play, as Willamette's lead increased to 4-0.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Janitz singled to right center. Scanlon drove Janitz around the bases with a triple to left field. Fischel walked. Three pitches later, Fischel got caught in a run-down between first and second. He was thrown out 2-4-3, but Scanlon scored on the play.
Gilman's strong start was followed up by solid relief pitching from Matt Pisacane (Fr., RHP, San Diego, CA/San Dieguito HS) and Brandon Murillo (So., RHP, Rancho Cucamonga, CA/Los Osos HS). Pisacane threw in the eighth inning and registered two strikeouts, while facing three batters. Murillo pitched in the ninth. He struck out two batters and allowed one hit.
Scanlon was 2 for 2 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI for the Bearcats. Janitz finished 2 of 4 and scored twice. Waldichuk earned 14 putouts at first base. Gannon and Jack Thomson each went 2 for 3 at the plate for Lewis & Clark.
Willamette will play three NWC games at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, next weekend. The Bearcats and the Wildcats will begin the series with two games on Saturday, March 9, starting at 12 p.m. (PST). The third game will be played on Sunday, March 10 at 12 p.m. (PDT).
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
In the seventh inning, Justin Scanlon smacked a triple just above
the reach of the left fielder. The triple allowed Tyler Janitz to score
from first base and increase the Bearcats' lead to 5-0. A bit earlier,
Scanlon scored from third base on a double steal in the sixth inning
for a 2-0 lead. For the game, he was 2 for 2 with two runs, two hit
by pitches, one RBI and one stolen base.