Chinn Hits Sacrifice Fly in 11th to Score Harrison, as Bearcats Defeat Bruins, 3-2

Willamette Wins Pitching Duel to Sweep Series from 17th-Ranked George Fox

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Brandon Chinn (Sr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Shea Harrison (So., UT., El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) with the winning run, as Willamette University completed a three-game sweep of 17th-ranked George Fox University with a 3-2 victory at John Lewis Field on Sunday, March 16.

Willamette, which defeated GFU 8-2 and 11-9 on Saturday, improved to 10-8 on the season, 4-4 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox dropped to 15-5 overall, 5-4 in the NWC.

Chinn's sacrifice fly provided a dramatic finish to a pitching duel that began with Willamette starter Peter Hoffman (Jr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS) battling George Fox standout Tom Zarosinski.

The two starters kept both teams off the scoreboard during the first five innings. Zarosinski pitched 7 2/3 innings, while Hoffman went eight innings.

Ultimately, neither starter gained a win or a loss. Even so, both achieved solid statistics. Hoffman allowed one run and six hits, while striking out five batters with no walks. Zarosinski was credited with two runs allowed on seven hits. He struck out four batters and gave up three walks.

George Fox finally broke up the two-sided shutout with a pair of hits in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Derek Dixon hit an infield single. Danny Clifford singled down the right field line to send Dixon to third base. A wild pitch allowed Clifford to reach second, but Dixon held at third.

Zach Rapacz followed with a groundout to shortstop to drive in Dixon, as GFU took a 1-0 lead.

It looked like WU might equalize in the bottom of the seventh. Ty Wyatt (Fr., DH/INF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) singled toward a diving Zac Israel at shortstop to start the inning. Israel made the grab but threw wildly. Wyatt went to second on the throwing error.

One out later, Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) reached base on a fielder's choice, as Israel tried but failed to catch Wyatt off second base.

Harrison was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but a grounder toward second by Himuro resulted in a very close inning-ending double play.

Willamette tied the game and moved in front during the eighth inning. All of the action occurred with two outs. Chinn singled up the middle to start the rally. Tiras Koon (Jr., 1B/C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) walked, and then Wyatt singled through the left side to score Chinn with the tying run.

Bryan Afzali (Jr., OF, Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS) pinch-ran for Koon and Austin Hagarty (So., INF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) ran for Wyatt.

Christian Jarnigan replaced Zarosinski on the mound. Tosh Semlacher (Jr., CF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) received a walk to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Afzali to score, while Hagarty and Semlacher each advanced. Breier walked, but new pitcher Taylor Dunn forced Harrison to fly out.

Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) started the ninth inning and hit Clifford with his first pitch. Gabe Louthan pinch-ran and stole second with one out. Israel drove in Louthan with a double to right center despite a diving effort by Andrew Wilson (Jr., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS). Kadyn Nannini struck out and Clay Mott to flied out to third to end the inning.

Willamette left runners at first and second in the ninth after Himuro and Chinn walked. Back-to-back singles by Blankenship and Dixon put GFU runners on base with two outs in the 10th, but a flyout ended the threat. Hagarty singled for WU in the 10th and Nannini singled for GFU in the 11th, but neither team scored.

Harrison opened the 11th inning for the Bearcats by reaching first base on a fielding error at shortstop. Himuro provided a well-placed sacrifice bunt with two strikes to send Harrison to second.

Devin Bales (Jr. UT, Graham, WA/Graham-Kapowsin HS/Grays Harbor College) got on base and went to second when center fielder Matthew Zeller dropped a fly ball. Harrison reached third base on the play. Tommy Kawamura (Sr., 2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) walked, filling the bases. Chinn faced a 3-2 count when he connected for the game-winning sacrifice fly.

Watt, who pitched the final three innings, earned the win and improved to 3-0. Connor Harris pitched the last 2 2/3 innings for GFU and dropped to 0-1.

For the Bearcats, Wyatt was 2 for 4 with an RBI. Six players recorded one hit. Chinn was 1 for 4 with a walk, a run and an RBI. The Bruins were led by Blankenship, who went 3 for 4. Dixon was 2 for 5 and scored once. GFU gained a 10-8 edge in hits, but made three errors, while WU had one error.

Willamette will remain at home to host non-conference foe Concordia University on Tuesday, March 18. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m. (PDT). The Cavaliers downed the Bearcats, 3-0, on Feb. 22 in Portland, Ore.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 3
George Fox University 2 (11 innings)

Post-game Interview
with Coach Swick

Post-game Interview
with players Brandon Chinn
and Jackson Watt

Brandon Chinn hit a sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the 11th inning to drive in Shea Harrison with the winning run.

Brandon Chinn hit a sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the 11th inning to drive in Shea Harrison with the winning run.