By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Whitworth University kept connecting for key hits with two outs, as the Pirates won both games of a Northwest Conference doubleheader against Willamette University, 12-4 and 3-1, on Saturday, March 16 at John Lewis Field. During the two games, Whitworth batters were 16 of 34 at the plate (.471) with two outs and earned 11 RBIs with two outs. Meanwhile, pitchers for the Pirates limited Willamette two one hit and one RBI with two outs.
The Pirates upped their overall record to 9-9 on the season with their fifth consecutive win. Willamette fell to 10-6 on the season, 7-4 in the NWC. The Bearcats will take on the Pirates in the final game of the series on Sunday, March 17 at 12 p.m. (PDT).
For Willamette, Sean Little (So., RF, Corvallis, OR/Crescent Valley HS) went 3 for 4 at the plate with an RBI in the first game and added a hit in the second game. Connor Bailey (Sr., CF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) also earned a hit in both games, including a double in the second game. Other Bearcats with at least one hit in each game were Justin Scanlon (Jr., 2B/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College) and Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS).
"We got beat today," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said. "They had several two-out RBIs and played better on defense than we did. Brandon Nelson pitched really well. He continues to improve."
Whitworth's Hitting with Two Outs Leads to 12-4 Win
In the first game, Whitworth was able to roll past the Bearcats because of exceptional hitting with two outs. The Pirates recorded 12 of their 18 hits in the game with two outs and those hits drove in nine of the 12 runs. Whitworth was 6 of 21 at the plate with less than two outs.
The Pirates brought in two runs in the first inning on three hits and two errors. Both runs were scored with less than two outs on an RBI single down the right field line by Taylor Poffenroth and a sacrifice fly to right field by Liam Fitzpatrick.
Willamette pulled within 2-1 in the bottom of the third. Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) singled up the middle with one out. Bailey and Scanlon walked to load the bases. Cole Pursell (Sr./Jr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) also walked to force Fischel across the plate.
Over the next three innings, Whitworth expanded its lead to 8-1. Cody Simmons hit a two-run single with two outs in the fourth. In the fifth, the Pirates added three runs with two outs on consecutive RBI doubles by Poffenroth, Tyler Bailey and Fitzpatrick. In the sixth, Nicholas Nerud singled with two outs and later scored on a single by Ben Wintringer.
After Whitworth tallied one run in the top of the eighth, the Bearcats answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Pursell doubled to start the inning and went to third on a single by Janitz. Pursell went on to score on a single by Little and Janitz scored on a single by Paguio.
Austin Rice pitched the first 6 2/3 inings for Whitworth and improved to 1-1 with the win. He allowed seven hits and two runs, while earning five strikeouts and four walks. Matt Steindorf fell to 5-1 for Willamette. He threw 5 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Stiendorf gave up eight runs, including six earned runs.
Four Pirates each registered three hits during the game. They were Wintringer, Poffenroth, Fitzpatrick and Simmons. Tyler Bailey hit two doubles. For Willamette, Little's 3-for-4 performance led the way, while Paguio finished 2 for 3 and Janitz was 2 of 4.
Pirates Hold Bearcats to Five Hits in Second Game
After recording 11 hits in the first game, the Bearcats were held to five hits in the second game. The strong pitching helped the Pirates win, 3-1.
Matthew Young tossed the first seven innings for Whitworth and gave up all five hits and Willamette's lone run. Brett Thomas pitched the final two innings and did not allow a hit. Young and Brown combined for seven strikeouts and three walks. Willamette starter Brandon Nelson allowed three runs -- two earned -- and nine hits in seven innings. He earned three strikeouts with one walk.
In the second game, Whitworth scored two of its three runs with two outs, and the remaining run was unearned.
Nerud singled to open the game. Two outs later, he stole second base and then scored on a single by Poffenroth. In the third inning, Poffenroth walked with two outs and went to second on a single by Tyler Bailey. Poffenroth reached home on a single by Fitzpatrick. In the fifth inning, Wintringer reached base with one out following an error at shortstop. After Wintringer stole second base, Poffenroth hit an RBI single up the middle.
The Bearcats trailed 3-0, but reduced the lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth. A bunt single by Scanlon and an infield singel toward the shortstop by Janitz but runners at first and second. Little batted next and advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Paguio belted a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing Scanlon across the plate. Young forced Kyle Underwood (So., C, Highland, CA/Citrus Valley HS) into a flyout to end the threat.
Sam Hudd (Sr./Jr., INF, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS) pinch-hit for the Bearcats to open the seventh and was hit by a pitch. He went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Vandemark (So., LF, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS). One out later, Jack Garver (Fr., OF, Salt Lake City, UT/Skyline HS) pinch-ran for Hudd, and then Connor Bailey walked. A fielder's choice ended the inning, as Garver was thrown out at third.
Fitzpatrick was 3 of 4 at the plate for Whitworth. Poffenroth went 2 of 3 with a run, a walk and two RBIs. Tyler Bailey and Casey Isa each went 2 of 4 with a double. Five Bearcats each finished with one hit, including Connor Bailey's double.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Sean Little earned four hits during the doubleheader.
He went 3 of 4 in the first game with an RBI. He added
one hit in the second game.