Bearcats Hit Two Homers, Koon Smacks Grand Slam, in 12-5 Win over Puget Sound

Gallant Finishes 3 for 5 with a Solo Homer, while Semlacher Goes 3 for 5

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Tiras Koon (So., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) blasted a grand slam homer to help Willamette University score six runs in the fifth inning, as the Bearcats overcame an early deficit to defeat the University of Puget Sound, 12-5, in a Northwest Conference baseball game on Saturday, April 27.

Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) smacked a solo home run for the Bearcats in the eighth inning.

The home runs were the first of the season for both Koon and Gallant.

Willamette improved to 19-19 overall, 12-10 in the Northwest Conference. Puget Sound fell to 15-21 overall, 10-12 in the NWC.

With one day remaining on the NWC regular season schedule, the Bearcats are in third place in the standings with their 12-10 record. Pacific Lutheran University is fourth at 12-11, Pacific University is fifth at 11-12 and Puget Sound is sixth at 10-12.

Willamette and UPS will play a doubleheader on Sunday at John Lewis Field starting at 12 p.m. (PST). Pacific Lutheran will play one game at Pacific on Sunday.

Gallant went 3 for 5 with two runs and three RBIs. Tosh Semlacher (Jr., RF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) finished 3 for 5, scored two runs and earned one RBI. Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) was 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI. For Puget Sound, JB Eary went 2 for 5 with a run and two RBIs. The Bearcats outhit the Loggers, 14-6.

The Bearcats plated the game's initial run in the bottom of the first, when Giza hit a leadoff single to right field, stole second base and scored on a single by Austin Hagarty (Fr., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS).

Puget Sound tied the game with a run in the top of the second inning. Kaulana Smith walked and Christian Carter singled to begin the stanza. Nick Funyak moved the runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Smith scored on a groundout by Addison Melzer.

In the fourth inning, the Loggers scored twice to take a 3-1 lead. Smith and Funyak crossed the plate when Eary hit a two-out, bases-loaded single.

Willamette surged in front, 7-3, on the strength of the six-run fifth inning. Giza and Gallant each provided an RBI single for a 3-3 tie, before Koon belted his grand slam.

Puget Sound cut the lead to two runs by scoring twice in the sixth. Three consecutive singles with one out loaded the bases. One run scored on a groundout by Nathan Backes and the other run scored on a wild pitch.

The Bearcats extended their lead to 9-5 with a pair of runs in the sixth, and then added an insurance run in the seventh. Gallant's home run to open the bottom of the eighth increased the lead to 11-5. A sacrifice fly hit by Brandon Chinn (Jr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) later in the inning allowed Semlacher to score the final run.

WU starting pitcher Peter Hoffman threw 7 1/3 innings for the win and improve to 7-4. He forced Puget Sound to leave 13 runners on base, including 11 in the first seven innings. UPS left three runners on base in the fourth and sixth innings, as Hoffman limited the Loggers to two runs in each situation.

Reliever Jackson Watt (Fr., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) registered a strikeout and forced a fly out to end the eighth inning with the final two runners credited to Hoffman still on base. Watt faced just three batters in the ninth to end the game. Puget Sound starter Matt Robinson fell to 6-6 with the loss.

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 12
University of Puget Sound 5

Tiras Koon smacked a grand slam home run during Willamette's six-run fifth inning.

Tiras Koon smacked a grand slam home run during Willamette's six-run fifth inning.

Hunter Gallant was 3 for 5 with a solo home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.

Hunter Gallant was 3 for 5 with a solo home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.