Simon's Strong Pitching Helps Bearcats Defeat #15 Linfield, 6-3

Willamette Earns Five RBIs with Timely Hitting; Wildcats Commit Three Errors

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The old saying that quality pitching, solid defense and timely hitting is a winning combination in baseball certainly was true for Willamette University on Sunday, March 10, as the Bearcats defeated 15th-ranked Linfield College, 6-3.

Willamette starter Brandon Simon (Sr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School) threw into the ninth inning and closer Parker Johnson (Sr., RHP, Carlsbad, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) faced just three batters.

The Bearcats did not commit an error on defense. At the plate, WU scored three runs on three hits in the first inning and earned three runs on two hits and two errors in the seventh inning.

With the win, the Bearcats advanced their record to 6-9 on the season, 2-4 in the Northwest Conference. Linfield, ranked #15 in the D3baseball.com Top 25, fell to 12-3 overall, 5-1 in the NWC.

Brad Breier (So., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) of Willamette went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Brandon Chinn (Jr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) hit a two-run single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and scored later in the stanza, as WU built a 6-1 lead.

Jake Wylie of Linfield was 2 for 4 with a solo homer, two runs and one RBI. Corey VanDomelen was 3 for 4 with one RBI for the Wildcats.

Willamette put its offense into gear early in the game, as the Bearcats opened the first inning with three consecutive batters reaching base.

Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) walked on a full-count pitch. Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS) singled up the middle to send Giza to third. Tosh Semlacher (Jr., LF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) belted a hit to left field, driving in Giza and moving Hirsch to third. Semlacher went to second while Hirsch beat out the throw.

Hirsch scored when Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) grounded out to shortstop for the first out. With two outs, Breier hit an RBI single to left field, as Semlacher scored on the play. Willamette led 3-0.

The Bearcats didn't record another hit until the seventh inning, as Linfield starter Zach Brandon kept the Wildcats close. Linfield placed its first run on the scoreboard in the fifth, when Wylie smacked his homer to left field.

Linfield's leadoff batter, second baseman Tim Wilson, reached first with an infield single to start the sixth. He was later picked off by Simon for the first out. VanDomelen, who was batting, singled to left field. The Bearcats ended the inning when Hirsch, Tanner Oates (So., 2B, Sparks, NV/Spanish Springs HS) and Chinn turned a 4-6-3 double play on a grounder by Nate McClellan.

Willamette increased its lead with several quality at bats in the seventh inning to take advantage of two errors by VanDomelen at shortstop.

Breier singled to open the stanza. Ben Petersen (Sr., C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College) hit the ball between first and second, but Breier was safe when VanDomelen dropped the throw. Pinch-runner Bryan Afzali (So., OF, Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS) and Breier each advanced a base when Oates sacrifice bunted to the pitcher.

Chinn batted next and provided the key hit. He sent a single just behind Afzali and into left field. Both runners scored for a 5-1 lead. Chinn reached second base on the throw, and later moved to third on a groundout by Giza.

With two outs and reliever Joseph Stevick pitching for Linfield, Hirsch went to first on a throwing error by VanDomelen, as Chinn crossed the plate.

In the top of the eighth, Wilson singled with two outs and VanDomelen doubled to right center, allowing Linfield to cut the lead to 6-2.

Wylie smacked a double to left field to open the ninth inning. Kramer Lindell and Kyle Chamberlain walked to load the bases. Simon, who threw 111 pitches for WU, left the game and Johnson went to the mound.

After striking out Clayton Truex, Johnson got Jordan Harlow to ground out to first base. Wylie scored, cutting WU's lead to 6-3. The game ended when Nick Fisher flied out to Hirsch, who caught the ball in left field.

Simon improved to 2-2 with the win. He scattered 10 hits, while striking out three batters and allowing two walks. Johnson recorded his second save.

Brandon dropped to 3-1 for Linfield. He allowed six runs (four earned) and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He earned five strikeouts and gave up one walk.

The Bearcats will return to action on Tuesday, March 12 with a game at Concordia University in Portland, Ore. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 6
Linfield College 3

Brandon Simon pitched eight full innings and faced three batters in the ninth to earn the win. He recorded three strikeouts.

Brandon Simon pitched eight full innings and faced three batters in the ninth to earn the win. He recorded three strikeouts.

Brandon Chinn hit a two-run single with one out in the seventh inning to turn a 3-1 lead into a 5-1 advantage.

Brandon Chinn hit a two-run single with one out in the seventh inning to turn a 3-1 lead into a 5-1 advantage.