Concordia Pulls Away from Bearcats, 10-2, in CCC/NWC Challenge

Gallant Finishes 2 of 4, Oates Hits a Double, for Willamette

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

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Concordia University (Ore.) broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the fourth inning, before adding one run in the fifth and three in the seventh, as the Cavaliers defeated Willamette University, 10-2, on Thursday, Feb. 21 during the first day of the CCC/NWC Challenge.

The CCC/NWC Challenge includes teams from the Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Northwest Conference. Concordia competes in the CCC and is a member of the NAIA. Willamette competes in the NWC and is a member of NCAA Division III.

Concordia improved to 5-6 on the season. Willamette dropped to 3-4 overall.

Willamette, which achieved five hits, was led by Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS), who went 2 for 4 at the plate. Tanner Oates (So., DH/INF, Sparks, NV/Spanish Springs HS) belted a double for the Bearcats and finished 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

Jared Young of Concordia went 3 for 4, earned four RBIs and scored one run. Blake Drake was 2 or 3 with three runs and an RBI for the Crusaders, while shortstop Ryne Briley was 1 for 2 and scored three times. The Cavaliers earned nine hits and received six walks

Concordia scored a run in the bottom of the first innings. Blake Drake opened the game with a bunt single, and then stole second base. One out later, he went to third on a fly ball to left field by Jordan Keeker. Drake scored on a double to center field by Cole Shidaki.

In the top of the third inning, Willamette tied the score. Oates doubled to right center to start the inning. Brad Breier (So., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) advanced Oates to third with a sacrifice bunt. Tommy Kawamura (Jr., 2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) drove in Oates with a single to shortstop.

The Cavaliers took a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the third, when Drake was hit by a pitch, stole second, reached third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a groundout by Keeker. WU tied the score in its next at bat.

With one out Sky Kelley (Sr., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) singled to second base. A single by Gallant and a walk issued to Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS) loaded the bases, before Kelley scored on a sacrifice fly by Oates. Breier walked to reload the bases, but Concordia relief pitcher Alex Bos recorded a strikeout to end the inning.

Concordia surged into the lead with its 4-run fourth inning, including three runs with two outs. Briley opened the frame with a double and scored when Young followed with a single. Later, Drake drove in Young on a two-out single to center. Drake and Sheldon Austria also scored during the inning, which included four hits and two errors. Two of the runs were unearned.

In the fifth inning, Briley walked with one out and crossed the plate on a triple by Young to left center, giving the Cavaliers a 7-2 lead. Concordia tallied the final three runs in the seventh, as Young drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single and Christian Lichtenthaler brought home one run on a groundout to second.

The pitchers from both teams combined for significant strikeout totals. Concordia's three pitchers struck out a total of nine batters. Willamette used five pitchers and they accumulated a total of eight strikeouts.

Bos, who pitched 2 1/3 innings of middle relief for the Cavaliers, was credited with the win. He struck out two batters and did not allow a hit, while moving to 1-2 on the season. WU reliever Jackson Watt (Fr., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) fell to 0-1 with the loss. Austin Hadley of CU picked up his first save.

Willamette's next game in the CCC/NWC Challenge will be against the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Feb. 23 at West Linn High School in West Linn, Ore. Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PST).

The Bearcats will conclude the tournament by facing Oregon Institute of Technology on Sunday in McMinnville, Ore., at 11 a.m.

BOX SCORE

Concordia University 10
Willamette University 2

Hunter Gallant registered two hits in four at bats for the Bearcats.

Hunter Gallant registered two hits in four at bats for the Bearcats.