Willamette Sweeps Whitman with 8-5 Win in Final Game of Series

Simon Earns Victory, Harrison Registers a Save

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University took advantage of its opportunities -- on offense and defense -- to defeat Whitman College, 8-5, on Sunday, April 14. When the game ended, Whitman held a 17-8 edge in hits, but Willamette owned the win and a sweep of the three-game series at John Lewis Field.

The Bearcats won the first two games on Saturday, 9-5 and 4-3.

Willamette improved to 14-18 on the season, 9-9 in the Northwest Conference. WU is tied with Pacific University for third place in the NWC. Whitman fell to 12-19 overall, 7-14 in the NWC. The Missionaries finished with 12 runners left on base, while Willamette left three runners on base.

WU starter Brandon Simon (Sr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School) pitched six complete innings and faced one batter in the seventh.

Henry Harrison (Sr., LHP, Nevada City, CA/Nevada Union HS) threw the rest of the game. After Whitman scored one run in the seventh, Harrison got out of a bases-loaded jam and went on to record a save. Simon improved to 4-3. Whitman starter Brett Lambert dropped to 1-4.

The first opportunity for WU was on defense in the top of the first, when Whitman leadoff batter Kyle Buckham singled, stole second base with one out and stole third with two outs. Simon prevented Buckham from scoring by setting down Cameron Young on a called third strike.

In the bottom of the inning, the offense took advantage of a wild pitch when WU's leadoff batter, Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) swung at a bad pitch for a third strike. Giza reached first base. He stole second and then went to third when the Missionaries failed to cover the throw. Giza scored on a groundout by Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS).

Willamette added four unearned runs in the third inning -- all with two outs. Austin Hagarty (Fr., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) and Gallant began the rally with back-to-back singles. Semlacher followed with a grounder that shortstop Ozzy Braff misplayed, leaving the bases loaded. Brad Breier (So., DH/C, Torrance, CA/South HS) used the opportunity to hit a two-run single.

Semlacher went to third and Breier advanced to second on the throw home. Brandon Chinn (Jr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) drove in both runners with a single to right center.

Whitman battled back with a trio of runs in the fourth inning on four hits. With one out and two runners on base, Maclean Harned hit an RBI single to left. Paul Heywood brought in two runs with a double to left center and went to third on an errant relay throw. Heywood was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to third and Buckham flied out to end the inning.

The Missionaries inched closer with a run in the top of the fifth. The Bearcats answered by scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth.

Ben Petersen (Sr., C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College) singled with one out and advanced to third when Rolenn Himuro (So., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) hit a single with two outs. The next batter, Giza, was down to his last strike with a 2-2 count, but sent a line-drive single to center, and both runners crossed the plate for a 7-4 lead.

The key defensive play of the game occurred shortly after Whitman scored once in the seventh on a one-out single by Harned. With runners at first and second, Heywood also singled, but Giza fielded the ball quickly and prevented the lead runner from scoring. Harrison then forced Jimmy Madden into a grounder to shortstop that resulted in a 6-4-3 double play.

Breier singled to open the bottom of the eighth, and pinch-runner Bryan Afzali (So., OF, Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS) later scored an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Petersen. In the top of the ninth, Harrison struck out Casey Minnick and the next two batters hit fly balls to Giza to end the game.

Eight Bearcats each contributed one run, and seven Willamette players earned a hit. Breier, who went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs was the only Bearcat with more than one hit. Buckham, Young and Kyle Moyes all went 3 for 5 for Whitman.

Willamette will take on nearby rival Corban University on Wednesday, April 17 at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Ore. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 8
Whitman College 5

Henry Harrison pitched three innings to earn a save. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.

Henry Harrison pitched three innings to earn a save. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.