Late Rally Pushes Whitworth Past Willamette, 7-5

SPOKANE, Wash. — Whitworth College avoided a series sweep at the hands of visiting Willamette University by rallying for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on the way to a 7-5 win over the Bearcats in a Northwest Conference baseball game on Sunday afternoon at Merkel Field.

The win improved the Pirates to 12-11 overall and 7-8 in the NWC and ended an eight game losing streak to the Bearcats that dated to 2002. Willamette fell to 12-16, 8-10.

Whitworth took a 3-1 lead with three unearned runs in the bottom of the third against Bearcat starting pitcher Jeff Jensen.

Willamette tied the game after Sean Anderson's RBI single in the fourth and Matt Rasmussen's RBI single in the fifth. Whitworth went back ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth on Nick Froman's RBI single.

The Bearcats took the lead with two unearned runs in the sixth. Brian Gilmore and Steve Johnson had RBI singles in the rally.

Whitworth's game-winning rally in the seventh began with three straight singles by Kyle Snell, Frank and Gebbers that tied the game. Reaber scored Frank with a ground out to short stop and Froman drove home Gebbers with a sacrifice fly to right field.

The Bearcats could not get anything going in the eighth or ninth against Pirate relief pitcher Trevor Sheffels, who picked up his second save of the season. Ben McCracken went seven innings, allowing five runs, two earned, on nine hits to improve to 2-3 this season.

Jensen allowed seven runs, only three of which were earned, on seven hits in eight innings to fall to 4-4 overall.

Willamette will return to action on Wednesday with a midweek NWC contest at Lewis & Clark.