Willamette Hosts Pacific Lutheran to Start NWC Play

Three-Game Series Features Saturday Doubleheader, Single Game Sunday

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Having played its first 10 games away from the friendly confines of John Lewis Field and Spec Keene Stadium, Willamette University will host Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran University this weekend for a critical three-game series to open NWC play.

First pitch for Saturday's doubleheader is set for 11 a.m. (PST), while Sunday's single game will start at 12 p.m.

Willamette enters the game 6-4 on the year, while PLU is 5-4. Both squads have faced some common opponents during the non-conference portion of the schedule.

On Feb. 22-23, the Bearcats faced off against Corban University, Concordia University (Ore.) and the Oregon Institute of Technology. Willamette went 2-1, posting a pair of 1-0 wins over Corban and OIT, while dropping a 3-0 decision to Concordia.

PLU has faced Concordia three times this year, going 1-2. The Lutes split a season-opening doubleheader against the Cavaliers on Feb. 8, losing 5-3 and winning 1-0, before falling 3-0 on February 23. PLU has also lost to Corban (4-2) and defeated OIT (3-1).

Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) has been dominant on the mount for the Bearcats this year, posting a 2-1 record and a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

On Feb. 18, Jepsen was named to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week after picking up a pair of wins in his first two collegiate baseball appearances. He was also named NWC Pitcher Student-Athlete of the Week.

Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) is WU's most reliable bullpen option. In four appearances, all in relief, Watt has earned a 2-0 record and one save while allowing just three hits and two runs. His 1.74 ERA ranks second on the team, and he has held opponents to a .094 batting average.

The Bearcats' offense features three players batting .300 or better: Shea Harrison (So., RHP/2B, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS), Tiras Koon (Jr., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) and Gordie Clary (So., 1B, Vacaville, CA/Vacaville HS).

Koon leads Willamette with nine RBIs, while Hunter Gallant (Jr., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) leads the team in hits, with 12.

For the first time, the Bearcat Network will be providing a live video feed of every game at John Lewis Field and Spec Keene Stadium this year. Longtime announcers Mike Allegre and Craig Spivey will provide the play-by-play for this weekend's action. Live stats will also be provided.

Freshman Matt Jepsen has been dominant in three outings on the mound, posting a 2-1 record and a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

Freshman Matt Jepsen has been dominant in three outings on the mound, posting a 2-1 record and a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings pitched.