Bearcats Host Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran over Holiday Weekend

Willamette Looks to Extend Northwest Conference Winning Streak

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University will take on Whitworth University in a three-game series and Pacific Lutheran University in a make-up game during the Easter holiday weekend at John Lewis Field. The Bearcats enter the weekend with a 12-game winning streak in Northwest Conference action.

The Bearcats will open the four-game set with a doubleheader against Whitworth on Friday, April 18, starting at 12 p.m. (PDT). Willamette will play the Pirates one more time on Saturday, April 19, also at 12 p.m. On Easter Sunday, the Bearcats will take on Pacific Lutheran in one game at 1 p.m. The game with PLU was originally scheduled for March 1, but was rained out.

Willamette will be providing Live Video Webcasts and Live Stats throughout the weekend.

Since starting the season 7-8 overall and 1-4 in the NWC, Willamette has been one of the hottest teams in NCAA Division III. The Bearcats have gone 14-3 in their last 17 games, including NWC sweeps of George Fox, Lewis & Clark, Pacific and Whitman. Willamette is 21-11 for the season.

Linfield College tops the NWC standings at 17-1, while Willamette is second at 13-4 and George Fox University is third at 14-7. Linfield is slated to play a three-game series at George Fox this weekend.

Whitworth, 10-19 overall, is sixth in the NWC with a 7-11 record. Pacific Lutheran is 19-13 overall, including 10-7 (4th place) in the NWC.

Ty Wyatt (Fr., DH/INF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) leads the Bearcats with a .364 batting average, 30 runs batted in and four home runs. Tiras Koon (Jr., C/1B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) follows with a .344 average, 22 RBIs, 20 runs and a team-high 10 doubles. Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) is batting .343 with 20 RBIs and 15 runs scored.

Also hitting above the .300 mark are Hunter Gallant (Jr., 3B/SS, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) and Tosh Semlacher (Sr., CF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS). Gallant owns a .322 average with 21 runs and 21 RBIs. Semlacher leads the team with 25 runs scored and is batting .301 on the season. Gallant and Semlacher are a combined 18 of 21 on stolen bases.

Willamette's success also stems from patience at the plate, which has led to 135 walks. Tommy Kawamura (Sr., SS/2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) has walked 26 times, while Koon has received 16 walks. The Bearcats have been hit by pitches 41 times, led by Brandon Chinn (Sr., OF/1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) with nine and Koon with seven.

The Bearcats have a .281 team batting average, but are hitting .324 in NWC games. For the season, WU is averaging 6.4 runs per game, including 7.7 runs per game in conference action.

Starting pitchers Peter Hoffman (Jr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS), Tyler Olson (Jr., RHP, Yuba City, CA/Yuba City HS) and Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) have started a total of 25 games.

Jepsen owns a team-leading 2.43 earned run averaged with 32 strikeouts in 63.0 innings. Hoffman has achieved a 3.17 ERA, while striking out 49 batters in 65 1/3 innings. Olson holds a 4.57 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. All three have winning records, with Jepsen at 5-3, Hoffman at 3-2 and Olson at 3-1. The Willamette pitching staff has 4.17 team ERA.

Willamette's closer, Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS), leads the Bearcats with seven saves. He also has a 5-1 record and a 3.16 ERA. Watt has struck out 24 batters in 31 1/3 innings pitched. He has limited opponents to a .230 batting average.

The top hitter for Whitworth is Thomas Wakem (Jr., OF) with a .323 batting average. He has hit eight doubles, while scoring 11 runs and earning 14 RBIs. Josh Davis (Jr. C) is batting .288, he has tallied 14 runs to go with three homers and 19 RBIs.

Nick Motsinger (Jr., INF) leads the Pirates with 23 runs scored. He also ranks first on the team with nine doubles and is hitting .281 for the season.

Spencer Ansett (Jr., LHP) tops the Whitworth starters with a 2.79 ERA. He is 3-2 with 23 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings. Cory Mack (Jr., LHP) owns a 4-3 record and a 3.42 ERA. He has struck out 34 batters in 50 innings pitched. The Pirates have a 4.85 team ERA.

Alec Beal (Sr., OF) of Pacific Lutheran is batting .352 with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. Drew Oord (So., INF) has provided a .305 average, while driving in 10 runs. The Lutes are hitting .237 as a team.

Pitching has been strong for the Lutes, who have achieved a 2.98 team ERA. Derrick Mahlum (Fr.) is 5-3 with a 2.10 ERA. He has struck out 61 batters in 55 2/3 innings. Trevor Lubking (Jr.) is 4-2 on the season, with a 2.25 ERA and 90 strikeouts 90 strikeouts in 72 innings. Chris Bishop (Jr.) is 3-5 with a 3.18 ERA. Bishop has registered 56 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.

Willamette will close out the regular season with a three-game series at the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27. The teams are scheduled to play one game on Saturday at 3 p.m. (PDT), followed by two games on Sunday, starting at 12 p.m.

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Tiras Koon (left) and Tosh Semlacher (right) have been key players for the Bearcats this season. Koon is batting .364  with 20 runs, while Semlacher is hitting .301 with 25 runs.

Tiras Koon (left) and Tosh Semlacher (right) have been key players for the Bearcats this season. Koon is batting .364 with 20 runs, while Semlacher is hitting .301 with 25 runs.