Willamette Sweeps Doubleheader from 17th-Ranked George Fox, 8-2 and 11-9

Olson Pitches Complete Game in Opener; Koon Belts Four Doubles in Game 2

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University starting pitcher Tyler Olson (Jr., IF, Yuba City, CA/Yuba City HS) threw a complete-game seven-hitter in the first game and Tiras Koon (Jr., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) smacked four doubles in the second game, as the Bearcats swept a doubleheader from 17th-ranked George Fox University, 8-2 and 11-9 on Saturday, March 15 at John Lewis Field.

With the wins, the Bearcats upped their record to 9-8 overall and to 3-4 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox slipped to 15-4 overall, 5-3 in the NWC.

Olson, who struck out four batters and allowed one walk, improved to 1-1 with the win in the opener. GFU starter Clay Gartner, who entered the game with a 0.69 ERA, gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- in 4 1/3 innings and fell to 5-1 on the season.

Also in the first game, WU designated hitter Ty Wyatt (Fr., DH/INF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) belted his third home run of the season, a 2-run shot to left field that gave the Bearcats a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Hunter Gallant (Jr., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS), who walked with two outs, also scored on the play.

Wyatt's homer -- his third of the season -- offset a run scored by Derek Blankenship in the top of the first. Blankenship doubled with one out and scored with two outs on a double by Derek Dixon.

Willamette added two runs in the second inning and four runs in the fifth, before GFU scored its second run in the seventh inning.

Tosh Semlacher (Sr., RF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) singled to begin the second stanza. He went to third on a double down the left field line by Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS). One out later, Shea Harrison (So., UT., El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) reached base on a fielder's choice to drive in Semlacher. An error on the play allowed Brier to reach third.

A groundout by Tommy Kawamura (Sr., 2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) allowed Brier to score, giving WU a 4-1 lead.

The Bearcats took advantage of four hits and an error in the bottom of the fifth.

Brandon Chinn (Sr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) started the offensive surge with a single down the line in left. Gallant singled toward the mound and Wyatt walked. Koon doubled near the right field line to drive in Chinn and Gallant. Later, Wyatt scored on a single by Breier, and Koon scored on a wild pickoff throw to first.

In the second game, the Bearcats pounded out 20 hits and took the lead for good by breaking a 4-4 tie with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Koon went 4 for 5 with four doubles, two runs and an RBI. Including a double in the first game, he finished the day 5 of 8 at the plate with five doubles.

The second game also featured a 3-for-5 effort from Gallant of Willamette. He scored two runs and earned one RBI.

GFU hit three homers in the second game. Dixon blasted a solo homer in the fifth inning and a two-run homer in the ninth. Danny Clifford pounded a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

The Bruins tallied one run in the first inning and led 3-0 in the top of the second after Zach Hegelmeyer and Dixon each hit an RBI single.

WU cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the second. Koon hit his first double of the game, Semlacher walked and Rolenn Himuro (Jr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) added a bunt single to load the bases. Harrison belted a double down the right field line to bring home Koon and Semlacher.

In the third inning, Wyatt walked and later crosses the plate to tie the game. The Bearcats took a 4-3 advantage when Harrison doubled and later scored on a groundout by Chinn in the fourth. Dixon's homer tied the game for the Bruins in the next inning.

The Bearcats plated two runs in the sixth on a two-RBI single by Chinn with the bases loaded and one out. Kawamura scored later in the inning for a 7-4 lead.

GFU reduced the lead to a single run by scoring twice in the top of the seventh. Led by a double from Koon and a two-run single by Breier, the Bearcats produced three runs in the bottom of the inning for a 10-6 margin. Each team scored once in the eighth, before the Bruins pulled within two runs in the ninth inning on Dixon's two-run homer to left field.

WU starter Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) threw 6 2/3 innings to earn the win. His pitching record moved to 3-3. Garrett Davis (Sr., RHP, Marysville, WA/Pilchuck HS) pitched the next 1 1/3 innings.

Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) entered the game for Willamette with an 11-9 lead and no outs in the top of the ninth. He forced a fly out and two groundouts to end the game, as he registered his third save of the season. GFU relief pitcher Sean Eberhardt took the loss and fell to 1-1.

The teams will complete the three-game Northwest Conference series with a game on Sunday, March 16 at 12 p.m. 

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 8
George Fox University 2
Statistics

Willamette University 11
George Fox University 9
Statistics

Post-game Interviews

Ty Wyatt smacked a two-run homer to left field in the first inning of the first game against George Fox.

Ty Wyatt smacked a two-run homer to left field in the first inning of the first game against George Fox.

The Bearcats congratulated Ty Wyatt (#26) following his home run. Hunter Gallant (#3) also scored on the play.

The Bearcats congratulated Ty Wyatt (#26) following his home run. Hunter Gallant (#3) also scored on the play.