Concordia Scores Four Runs in First Inning, Defeats Bearcats, 5-1

Hagarty Drives in Himuro with Double in Seventh Inning for Willamette

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Concordia University (Ore.) scored four runs -- three unearned -- in the first inning against Willamette University, and the Cavaliers went on to defeat the Bearcats, 5-1, on Tuesday, March 12 at Porter Park. Concordia, which competes in the NAIA, evened its record at 11-11. Willamette, a member of NCAA Division III, fell to 6-10.

The first batter of the game for Concordia, center fielder Blake Drake, put the ball in play and went all the way to third base on a throwing error by Willamette's starting pitcher, Henry Harrison (Sr., LHP, Nevada City, CA/Nevada Union HS). C.J. Watson singled to right center to score Drake.

Jordan Keeker belted a triple to left center to bring home Watson, as the Cavaliers took a 2-0 lead. A walk, a sacrifice bunt and another walk left the bases loaded. Ben Talbot hit a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing Keeker to score. Christian Lichtenthaler followed with a single up the middle to drive in Cole Shidaki.

Concordia outhit Willamette 5-3 the rest of the way as the Cavaliers finished the game with an 8-3 advantage in hits.

Willamette registered just one hit in the first six innings, a leadoff single by Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) in the second inning. Gallant went to second base on a groundout by Tiras Koon (So., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School), and then moved to third on a wild pitch. CU starter Harrison McGhee forced a pop-up and a second groundout to end the threat.

The Bearcats plated their only run in the top of the seventh to pull within 4-1.

Rolenn Himuro (So., LF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) hit a bunt single with one out, and advanced to second when Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) grounded out. Austin Hagarty (Fr., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) batted next and doubled to left field, allowing Himuro to cross the plate.

Concordia answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Shidaki flied out to open the stanza. Carl Beckert pounded a triple to right field, putting himself in scoring position. Beckert scored when Ryne Briley flied out to center field.

After the sacrifice fly, Elliot North reached base on an infield error. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Drake, but he flied out to center field, leaving the bases loaded.

Overall, the Cavaliers earned three triples during the game. In addition the triples by Keeker and Beckert, Concordia also received a triple from Lichtenthaler, who raced to third after belting the ball down the right field line with two outs in the fifth inning. Lichtenthaler was left at third when Jimmy Sanchez lined out to Gallant at third base.

As often happens in mid-week games, both teams used several pitchers. The Bearcats sent six pitchers to the mound, with none throwing more than two innings. McGhee threw the first three innings for Concordia, before a trio of other pitchers went two innings apiece.

Gage Aker improved to 3-0 with the win for the Cavaliers. Harrison fell to 0-1 with the loss for Willamette.

Three CU batters earned two hits. Lichtenthaler was 2 for 2 with an RBI and two walks. Watson was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI, while Shidaki went 2 for 3 and scored once.

The Bearcats will play a Northwest Conference series this weekend at George Fox University, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 16. First pitch in Newberg, Ore., is set for 12 p.m. (PDT). Willamette and the Bruins will conclude the series with a single game on Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Concordia University 5
Willamette University 1

Rolenn Himuro hit a bunt single in the seventh inning and eventually scored on a double by Austin Hagarty.

Rolenn Himuro hit a bunt single in the seventh inning and eventually scored on a double by Austin Hagarty.