Lewis & Clark Edges Bearcats 9-8 in First Game, as Pioneers Start Doubleheader Sweep

TIGARD, ORE. -- Lewis & Clark College slipped past Willamette University, 9-8, in the first game of a Northwest Conference doubleheader at the Tigard High School Field on Saturday, Feb. 10. Willamette outhit the Pioneers, 9-4, in the second game, but L&C took advantage of three Willamette errors to score six unearned runs and complete the sweep with an 8-3 victory. The doubleheader opened the season for Lewis & Clark, now 2-0 on the season and 2-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 1-2 overall, 0-2 in the NWC.

In the first game, Lewis & Clark led 6-1 after five innings, but Willamette rallied with four runs in the top of the seventh to pull within 6-5. Willamette’s big inning included a three-RBI triple by Kelly Gilmore (Sr., RF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) that drove home Matthew Rasmussen (Sr., SS, Sandy, UT/Bingham HS), Dan Maslanik (So., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) and Ellis Webster (So., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS).

L&C increased its lead to 7-5 with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Corey Lowell opened the inning by hitting into a two-base error. He later scored on a double down the left field line by Michael Orr. Willamette tied the game with two runs in the eighth, as Webster hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring home the first run and Maslanik scored the second run on a wild pitch.

The Pioneers regained the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. Jordan Shibata walked to start the inning, then went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sam Marthinsen. Shibata scored when Greg Williams followed with a double near the foul line in left field. Williams later scored on a single by A.J. Brown.

Kyle Stalker (So., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) walked as WU’s lead-off batter in the ninth inning. Two outs later, Stalker was at second when Rasmussen doubled to right center. Stalker scored to get Willamette within a single run, but Colin Young (Jr., LF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) grounded out to second base to end the game.

Relief pitcher Eric Maroncelli recorded the win for L&C. He threw the final 1 1/3 innings and allowed just one run and one hit. The Pioneers overcame 11 walks issued by the pitching staff, including five by the starter, Jordan Smiley. Willamette starter Tye Sundlee (Jr., RHP, Yakima, WA/West Valley HS) struck out five batters in 4 2/3 innings, but gave up six runs -- five unearned -- as the Bearcats committed two errors in the fourth inning and one error in the fifth.

WU reliever Kelsey Nakata (So., RHP, Mililani, HI/Mililani HS) suffered the loss. He allowed four hits and three runs. One of the runs was unearned after Willamette committed its fourth error of the game.

In the second game, Lewis & Clark broke open a close contest with a five-run sixth inning. Willamette entered the bottom of the sixth with a 3-2 lead, but two errors, a hit batsmen and three walks during the inning proofed costly. The Pioneers achieved their five-run rally using just one hit, a two-RBI single by Marthinsen with two outs.

Lewis & Clark added an insurance run in the eighth inning, when Abe Kaempf reached base on an error, moved to second on a stolen base, advanced to third on a fly out by Orr and scored on a passed ball. Kaempf’s run was the sixth unearned run of the game for L&C and was the Pioneers’ 12th unearned run of the day.

Sami Morgan, who threw four innings of relief for Lewis & Clark was the winner of Game #2. He allowed six hits, but gave up only one run. Clint Moran (Jr., LHP, Mission Viejo, CA/Capistrano Valley HS) took the loss for Willamette. He threw the first 5 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run in both the second and third innings, before the Bearcats’ errors led to five unearned runs in the sixth.

Offensively, Willamette was led on the day by Rasmussen, who went 5 for 9 overall. He was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI in the opener. He added a 3-for-5 performance with one run scored in the second game. Grant Yamaguchi (Sr., 1B, Aiea, HI/Mid Pacific Institute) went 2 for 3 with an RBI in the second game.

Willamette benefited from 10 walks during the nightcap, but stranded 15 runners on the base paths. The second game also featured four doubles by the Bearcats, including two by Rasmussen.

Lewis & Clark managed to sweep the double-header despite giving up a total of 21 walks. The Bearcats also battled control problems as Willamette walked a total of 15 batters. The ‘Cats gave up nine walks in the second game, which included several short rain delays lasting a combined time of about one hour.

For the Pioneers, Morgan was 2 for 4 with two RBIs in the first game. Williams went 2 for 5 in the first game, while scoring once and driving in one run. In the second game, Marthinsen was 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs and one run scored.

Willamette and Lewis & Clark will complete the three-game series with a single game on Sunday, Feb. 11. First pitch at Tigard High School is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PST).