Whitworth Shuts Out Bearcats in Final Game of Weekend Series

Gallant Goes 2 for 4 at the Plate for Willamette

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Whitworth University scored at least one run in each of the first eight innings and pitcher Carson Blumenthal limited Willamette University to five hits, as the Pirates shut out the Bearcats, 15-0, in the final game of a Northwest Conference series on Sunday, April 21 at Merkel Field.

Willamette fell to 17-19 overall, 11-10 in the NWC. The Bearcats won the three-game series, two games to one, and are tied for third place in the NWC with Pacific Lutheran University. The Bearcats and the Lutes are one game in front of the University of Puget Sound and Pacific University, both with 10-11 records in conference play.

Whitworth upped its record to 11-22-1 on the season and improved to 6-15 in the NWC.

The Pirates earned 17 hits. Jeremy Druffel was 4 for 6 with a run and three RBIs. Tyler Pfeffer went 3 for 4 with two walks, two runs and two RBIs. Blake Thoren finished 3 for 5 with a triple, a double, one run and three RBIs.

For the Bearcats, Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) went 2 for 4. He moved into the team lead with a .342 batting average for the season.

Austin Hagarty (Fr., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) of Willamette pounded out a double in four at bats, while Brandon Chinn (Jr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS) each went 1 for 3.

Whitworth jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Brandon Simon (Sr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School), who started on the mound for Willamette, forced the first two batters to fly out, but Pfeffer and Druffel singled to start a two-out rally.

Danny Jordan singled up the middle to drive in Pfeffer. Druffel went to third on the play, while Jordan advanced to second on a throwing error. Marlowe Peter was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and then Thoren belted a three-run double to left field.

The Pirates added two scores in the second inning on a two-run double by Druffel down the right field line. Whitworth tacked on one run in the third and one run in the fourth to build an 8-0 lead, as the Pirates gradually pulled away.

An infield single by Gallant with one out in the fourth inning was the first base hit of the game for the Bearcats. In the sixth inning, Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) walked with one out and Hagarty doubled near the left field line to put two runners in scoring position, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the threat.

Chinn singled with one out in the seventh, but was throw out on a fielder's choice when Brad Breier (So., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) hit a grounder to shortstop. Hirsch sent a single into right field to move Breier to second base. Blumenthal caused Andrew Wilson (So., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) to fly out to right field to end the inning.

Blumenthal improved to 4-4 with the win for Whitworth. He struck out two batters and allowed two walks. Simon fell to 4-4 with the loss.

Willamette will play a non-conference game at Lewis & Clark College on Tuesday, April 23 at 4 p.m. (PDT).

Next weekend, the Bearcat will close out the season at home with a three-game Northwest Conference series against Puget Sound on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28. The teams will play one game on Saturday at 2 p.m. (PDT) and will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Sunday at 12 p.m.

Whitworth University 15
Willamette University 0
Hunter Gallant registered two hits in four at bats. He leads the Bearcats with a .342 batting average for the season.

Hunter Gallant registered two hits in four at bats. He leads the Bearcats with a .342 batting average for the season.