Oregon Tech Hangs on For 2-1 Win over Bearcats

Breier doubles home WU's run; Late rally falls just short

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Oregon Tech grabbed an early 2-0 lead, then rode Chase Meister's complete game, six-hit performance to a 2-1 victory over Willamette University in a game on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Roy Helser Field in McMinnville, Ore.

The game was part of the CCC/NWC Challenge, which includes teams from the NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference and the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference.

Tyson Dahl went 3 for 4 at the plate for Oregon Tech, which competes in the CCC. OIT improved its record to 6-8 on the year. Willamette, which had six different batters each get one hit, fell to 4-5.

The Hustlin' Owls won the contest despite an outstanding performance from Bearcats' starting pitcher Brandon Simon (Sr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School), who fell to 0-2 on the year despite turning in his best start of the season.

Simon scattered 10 hits over seven innings of work before giving way to Henry Harrison (Sr., LHP, Nevada City, CA/Nevada Union HS) at the start of the eighth.

But both Simon and Harrison were outdone by Meister, who stymied Willamette's bats all day long. Meister gave up six hits in the game, striking out seven and issuing just one walk.

That one walk, however, gave Willamette a terrific chance to tie or win the game in the top of the ninth inning.

Trailing 2-1, the Bearcats' Tosh Semlacher (Jr., OF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) drew the leadoff walk, then stole second. Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) struck out swinging, but Sky Kelley (Sr., OF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) reached on a fielder's choice, then advanced to second on a Meister throwing error.

With runners at second and third and just one out, however, Meister successfully worked his way out of the jam.

First, Meister forced Tanner Oates (So., 2B, Sparks, NV/Spanish Springs HS) to pop out to second base. He then induced a grounder to second from pinch-hitter Tiras Koon (So., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) to end the game.

Oregon Tech opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, placing runners on second and third with nobody out. During the next at-bat, Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS) fielded a grounder. OIT's Ethan Schlecht scored while Hirsch fired to first for the sure out.

Simon then got a pair of Oregon Tech hitters to ground out to end the inning.

The Owls added to their lead one inning later, using a leadoff double and a one-out RBI single to take a 2-0 lead. But with runners on first and second, Hirsch, Oates, and Corbin Bennett (Fr., 1B, Tustin, CA/Foothill HS) turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Willamette's lone run came during a two-out rally in the very next frame. Oates and Bennett each singled before Brad Breier (So., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) belted a double into left field. Oates scored easily, but Bennett was thrown out at the plate.

The Bearcats had no other baserunners until their near-comeback in the top of the ninth.

Next weekend, Willamette will open NWC play with a trip to Tacoma, Wash. for a three-game series against Pacific Lutheran University. First pitch for the planned doubleheader on Saturday, March 2 is scheduled for 11 a.m.

BOX SCORE

Oregon Institute of Technology 2
Willamette University 1

Brad Breier drove home Willamette's only run with a double in the top of the fourth inning.

Brad Breier drove home Willamette's only run with a double in the top of the fourth inning.