Willamette Opens Twinbill with 6-4 Win over UPS to Clinch Third Place in NWC

Loggers Wins Second Game, 15-3, Preventing Bearcats from Three-Game Sweep

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior pitcher Brandon Simon (RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School) threw a complete game with four strikeouts and no walks, and the Willamette University offense pounded out 12 hits, as the Bearcats defeated the University of Puget Sound, 6-4, in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday, April 28. Puget Sound won the second game, 15-3.

The win in the opener, combined with Pacific Lutheran University's 5-1 loss at Pacific University on Sunday, allowed the Bearcats to clinch third place in the Northwest Conference standings with a 13-11 record. Puget Sound finished in sixth place at 11-13.

Willamette's third place standing in the NWC is the team's top conference finish since taking second place in 2003.

The Bearcats concluded the season with a 20-20 overall record after winning two of three games in the weekend series, including a 12-5 win on Saturday. Puget Sound moved to 16-22 on the season.

Six Willamette players each recorded two hits in the opener. Tosh Semlacher (Jr., RF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) hit a solo home run and finished 2 for 4.

Brandon Chinn (Jr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) was 2 for 3. Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) went 2 for 3 with a double, while Ben Petersen (Sr., C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College) and Andrew Wilson (So., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) each went 2 for 4. Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) was 2 for 5.

UPS picked up 11 hits in the first game. Five Loggers had two hits apiece. Jeff Walton was 2 for 4, a double with two runs and an RBI Stephen Kelsey also went 2 for 4, and drove in two runs.

Willamette scored two runs each in the first and third innings for a 4-1 lead, and then added two runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Giza started WU's first at bat by receiving a walk on a full-count pitch. One out later, he moved to second on a single by Gallant. Semlacher reached first on an error to load the bases. Giza scored on a  sacrifice fly by Brad Breier (So., DH/C, Torrance, CA/South HS) and Gallant scored on a single by Chinn.

Puget Sound cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning. Walton doubled to start the third inning. He went to third on a bunt single by Kelsey and scored when JB Eary hit into a double play.

It was the second of three double plays by the Willamette defense in the opener. The Bearcats also received outstanding catches in foul territory by Chinn and Semlacher during the game.

Semlacher's homer with one out in the bottom of the inning gave Willamette a 3-1 edge. Breier got to first base on an fielding error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chinn. Breier scored on a single by Petersen.

The Bearcats continued to maintain a 4-1 lead over the next four and a half innings. In the eighth, Willamette registered a pair of insurance runs. Petersen singled to start the rally and Wilson singled one out later. Giza added an RBI single to right field to score Petersen. Austin Hagarty (Fr., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) drove in Wilson with a sacrifice fly.

In the top of the night, the Loggers battled back into the game, but Simon had enough left to secure the complete-game win. Kaulana Smith and Christian Carter singled before WU recorded back-to-back outs. Walton drove in Carter with a single, and then Kelsey brought in two runs with a double down the left field line. Simon forced Eary into a groundout to the mound to end the game.

In the second game, Puget Sound scored five runs in the third inning and led 7-0 after six innings. The Loggers outhit the Bearcats 20-3 during the game.

The third inning featured six hits for the Loggers. Connor Savage and Smith each hit an RBI single, before Carter smacked a three-run homer to complete the outburst.

Willamette had just one hit through six innings, but had a chance to get back into the game in the bottom of the seventh. Semlacher singled with one out and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Petersen with the bases loaded. Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS) walked to reload the bases.

Tiras Koon (So., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) pinch-hit and battled back from an 0-2 count to receive a walk. The free pass allowed Breier to score from third. Giza batted next and hit a powerful line drive that went just foul near the right field corner. If the ball had been fair it would have scored three runs. Giza grounded out to end the inning.

Puget Sound added two runs in the eighth and six runs in the ninth to pull away. Savage led the Loggers by going 4 for 6 with a double, three runs and two RBIs. Smith was 3 for 6 and drove in three runs, while Carter finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

Nathan Aguiar, who pitched 6 2/3 inning for UPS, improved to 3-3 with the win. He struck out four batters, gave up two walks and allowed just three hits. WU starter Parker Johnson (Sr., RHP, Carlsbad, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) fell to 3-2 with the loss.

Prior to the game Willamette honored its six seniors:  Giza, Henry Harrison (Sr., LHP, Nevada City, CA/Nevada Union HS), Jake Jones (Sr., RHP, Wilsonville, OR/Wilsonville HS), Johnson, Petersen and Simon.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 6
University of Puget Sound 4
Statistics

University of Puget Sound 15
Willamette University 3
Statistics

Brandon Simon pitched all nine innings in the first game, while striking out four batters and allowing no walks, as he improved to 5-4.

Brandon Simon pitched all nine innings in the first game, while striking out four batters and allowing no walks, as he improved to 5-4.

Tosh Semlacher hit his team-leading seventh home run in the third inning of the first game.

Tosh Semlacher hit his team-leading seventh home run in the third inning of the first game.