Eriksen and Gilmore Homer, as Bearcats End Season with 8-7 Victory over Pioneers

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University seniors Ty Eriksen (LF/1B, Vancouver, WA/La Salle HS) and Kelly Gilmore (RF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) each blasted a two-run homer, as the Bearcats defeated Lewis and Clark College, 8-7, in the final game of the season for both teams on Thursday, April 26 at Helser Field on the campus of Linfield College. Lewis and Clark opened the evening by winning a previously suspended Northwest Conference game, 7-5.

Including the win in the non-conference nightcap, Willamette finished the season with an 18-21 overall record, 9-15 in the NWC. The Pioneers ended the year at 13-21 overall, 9-15 in the NWC.

Willamette led 5-3 when the suspended game was stopped due to rain on Feb. 11. Lewis and Clark quickly tied the game and took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning when the game resumed. The Pioneers earned three singles, a double and a stolen base during the inning. The go-ahead run was scored by Abe Kaempf on a bloop single by Jordan Shibata that barely eluded three Bearcats in shallow right center field.

L&C added one run in the eighth inning. Greg Williams walked to start the inning, then stole second and went to third on a ground out. He scored when Neal Finch hit a single through the left side of the infield.

The Pioneers held Willamette hitless in the eighth and ninth innings to win the resumed game. In the ninth, Gilmore walked with two outs, but Ryan Peterson (Sr., 2B, Grangeville, ID/Grangeville HS) hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the contest.

Sean Anderson (Jr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) was 3 for 4 with a run and two RBIs for the Bearcats. Eriksen went 2 for 4 with an RBI. For L&C, Finch was 2 for 4 with one run and one RBI.

Willamette took a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the complete game. Colin Young (Jr., LF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) singled up the middle with two outs and stole second base. Eriksen followed with a home run over the fence in left field.

Lewis and Clark rallied with three runs in the top of the third and one run in the fourth. The Bearcats committed five errors during the two innings, but starting pitcher Tye Sundlee (Jr., RHP, Yakima, WA/West Valley HS) minimized the damage. He allowed two hits in the third stanza and one hit in the fourth, but prevented the Pioneers from pulling away.

The Bearcats equalized the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Peterson was hit by a pitch. Gilmore batted next and blasted a two-run homer to left field.

In the following half-inning, L&C regained the lead with two runs. Both runs scored on a two-out single by Shibata.
A.J. Brown and T.J. Witkowski reached home plate on the play.

Willamette answered with four runs in the bottom of sixth. Dan Maslanik (So., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) walked with the bases loaded to bring in one run. Two runs scored when Peterson singled through the left side of the infield, giving WU a 7-6 lead. Gilmore walked and David Tufo (So., 3B, San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS) was hit by a pitch, as the Bearcats’ advantage reached 8-6.

Clint Moran (Jr., LHP, Mission Viejo, CA/Capistrano Valley HS) threw the final three innings to earn his first save of the season. In the seventh, he walked Greg Williams and gave up a single to Mike Giardina with no outs, but still worked his way out of the inning without allowing the Pioneers to score. The runners stole second and third, only to be left on base when Moran struck out three consecutive batters.

In the eighth, an error and a walk put L&C runners on first and second with no outs. Moran responded by moving toward third to catch a pop-up bunt, then threw the ball to shortstop Matt Rasmussen (Sr., Sandy, UT/Bingham HS) to double off the runner at second. He then struck out Kaempf to end the inning.

Moran walked Williams to start the bottom of the ninth, then got Giardina to fly out to left field, where Young caught the ball near the warning track. Williams moved to second on a wild pitch and reached third when Corey Lowell flied out to right field.

The Pioneers pulled within a single run moments later, when Willamette committed its seventh error of the game on Brown’s grounder up the middle. Witkowski also hit the ball up the middle, but Peterson fielded it near second base and flipped to Rasmussen for the final out.

Middle reliever Kelsey Nakata (So., RHP, Mililani, HI/Mililani HS) picked up the win and improved to 3-2. Lewis and Clark right-hander Evan Fairmont, the third of six Pioneer pitchers during the game, took the loss and dropped to 1-3.

Willamette won the game with just five hits. Gilmore’s homer was his team-leading fifth of the season, all hit in the final two weeks of the season. His first homer was hit at Helser Field against Linfield on April 15. Eriksen’s homer was his third of the year. Young and Eriksen led Willamette with two runs apiece.

Witkowski was 2 for 5 with two runs scored for Lewis & Clark. Kaempf and Sam Marthinsen each pounded out one double for the Pioneers. L&C achieved a total of eight hits on offense and committed two errors on defense.

Game #1 (Completion of NWC game suspended on Feb. 11 in the middle of the seventh inning)
Lewis and Clark College 7, Willamette University 5 - Box Score

Game #2 (WU home team in neutral site, non-conference game)
Willamette University 8, Lewis and Clark College 7 - Box Score

Kelly Gilmore hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season in Willamette's 8-7 win over Lewis and Clark on April 26.

Kelly Gilmore hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season in Willamette's 8-7 win over Lewis and Clark on April 26.