Bearcats Defeat Corban 1-0, Fall to Concordia 3-0

Afzali Scores Winning Run in Ninth Inning against Warriors

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

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Bryan Afzali (Jr., OF, Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS) walked with one out in the ninth inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch for the game's only run, as Willamette University defeated cross-town rival Corban University, 1-0, at Porter Park on Saturday, Feb. 22 in the NWC/CCC/GNAC Challenge. During the evening, Willamette lost to co-host Concordia University (Ore.) 3-0 to complete the day's schedule.

Willamette is now 5-4 on the season, 1-2 in the tournament. Corban fell to 3-6 overall, while Concordia advanced its record to 5-2. The Bearcats will play their final game of the weekend on Sunday (Feb. 23) at Roy Helser Field in McMinnville, Ore., against Oregon Institute of Technology. Game time is set for 11 a.m. (PST).

Both of the Bearcats' games on Saturday featured strong pitching.

Albert Garcia (So., LHP, Broomfield, CO/Broomfield HS), Evan Giddings (So., RHP, El Cerrito, CA/St. Mary's HS) and Shea Harrison (So., RHP/2B, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) combined for the shutout win against Corban. Giddings went to 1-1 with the win, while Harrison picked up his first save. The Warriors also used three pitchers, but reliever Tyler Bennett (0-1) suffered the loss.

Peter Hoffman (Jr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS) threw a solid seven innings for Willamette in the nightcap. He dropped to 0-1 on the season, but allowed just seven hits and three runs. Harrison McGhee (2-1) tossed eight innings for Concordia to earn the win, while Blake Evetts threw the top of the ninth to register a save.

Garcia and Corban starter Rilyn Lewchuk battled each other of the first five innings on Saturday. Lewchuk had a no-hitter going with six strikeouts and two walks when he was replaced by Daniel Gober in the top of the sixth. Garcia allowed no runs and just five hits -- four were singles -- before giving way to Giddings.

In the sixth, seventh and eighth, Giddings limited the Warriors to one single in the sixth and one more in the eighth.

Meanwhile, WU remained without a hit until Hunter Gallant (Jr., SS, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) singled down the right field line to start the seventh inning. He stole second with two outs, but Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) grounded out to end the threat.

After Afzali walked with one out in the ninth, Bennett committed a balk, which advanced Afzali to second base. A single by Gallant moved Afzali to third, before both runners took another base on a wild pitch, with Afzali scoring the game's only run. Gallant stole third base, but was stranded at the end of the half inning.

After Giddings hit Bennett to open the bottom of the ninth, Harrison went to the mound for Willamette. He walked Benjamin Liogon and then threw wildly after fielding a bunt by Ben Straka. Ryan Morgan, who pinch-ran for Bennett reached third on the play, but was caught in a run down between third and home. Harrison got Davis Alderman to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.

In Willamette's second game of the day, Concordia scored once in the third inning and maintained a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh. Ian Erickson began the third stanza with an infield single and scored with one out on a triple to left field by Trent Calmer.

The Cavaliers added a pair of insurance runs with two outs in the seventh. Ben Talbot beat singled toward second base to keep the inning alive. Calmer followed with a ball back toward the mound, which also resulted in a single. Blake Drake belted a double to left center to score pinch-runner Adam Taylor as well as Calmer.

McGhee and Evetts combined for a three-hitter for the Concordia pitching staff.

The first hit by Willamette was a triple to right field by Afzali in the top of the fourth inning. Gallant followed with a fly ball to center field, but was unable to register a sacrifice fly as Afzali was thrown out at the plate.

WU's final two hits were a single by Gordie Clary (So., 1B, Vacaville, CA/Vacaville HS) in the eighth inning and a single by Gallant in the ninth.

Gallant had both of Willamette's hits against Corban and finished the day 3 for 8 during the two games. Ryan Rosas went 2 of 2 at the plate for Corban, while Calmer was 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI for Concordia.


Willamette University 1
Corban University 0

Concordia University (Ore.) 3
Willamette University 0

Bryan Afzali (#34) walked and later scored in the ninth inning for the only run in Willamette's 1-0 win over Corban. He hit a triple against Concordia.

Bryan Afzali (#34) walked and later scored in the ninth inning for the only run in Willamette's 1-0 win over Corban. He hit a triple against Concordia.