Willamette Rallies from 7-1 Deficit to Defeat Linfield, 9-8

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University rallied from a 7-1 deficit after five innings to tie the game at 7-7 with six runs in the top of the seventh, then overcame a one-run deficit in the ninth, to defeat Linfield College, 9-8, in a Northwest Conference game on Sunday, April 15. Linfield took an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the eighth, before the Bearcats scored the tying and winning runs in their final at bat.

WU improved to 14-18 on the season, 7-13 in the NWC. Linfield fell to 16-14 overall and dropped to 11-7 in the NWC.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Sean Anderson (Jr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) singled for Willamette and Grant Yamaguchi (Sr., 1B, Aiea, HI/Mid Pacific Institute) doubled to put runners at second and third. Both runners scored when Matt Rasmussen (Sr., SS, Sandy, UT/Bingham HS) followed with a single to right field.

Yamaguchi scored on a close play, as the ball narrowly beat him to the plate, but the Linfield catcher was unable to control the ball and make the tag at the same time. The ball slipped away as Yamaguchi completed his slide.

The winning pitcher for Willamette was Jarrid Summers, who threw a complete game despite giving up five runs in the fifth inning. He allowed one run during the final four stanzas and faced only three batters in the ninth. Summers earned four strikeouts and allowed three walks, while improving to 5-3. Reliever Joshua Guterman of Linfield fell to 1-4 with the loss.

Linfield took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but a defensive play by second baseman Ellis Webster (So., Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS) prevented the Wildcats from having a bigger inning. A walk and three singles led to runs by Cory Ellis and David Bachofner. Two outs later, the bases were loaded when Don Bard sent a grounder up the middle. Webster made a diving stop, then threw out Bard at first base.

The Bearcats pulled within 2-1 in the third inning, as Dan Maslanik (So., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) walked and eventually scored. He went from first to third when right fielder Brian Kerr misplayed a single by Webster. Maslanik advanced to the plate on a one-out grounder by David Tufo (So., 3B, San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS).

Linfield's five-run fifth inning included four hits and an error. Bachofner singled to drive in the first run, then Stew Davis drove in the next two runs with a single to left field. Drew Van Cleave added an RBI on a fielder's choice that brought home Kevin Mills. Davis scored the final run of the inning when a single was mishandled in the outfield.

Willamette's rally began with a 3-run homer by Kelly Gilmore with two outs in the seventh. By the time the inning was over, Willamette had six runs on four hits during the stanza and the game was tied, 7-7. After Gilmore's home run, Tufo doubled to right field and Anderson followed with an RBI single. Willamette's final two runs were scored by Kyle Stalker (So., DH/1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) on a wild pitch and by Anderson on a passed ball.

The Wildats moved in front 8-7 in the eighth. Bard opened the stanza with a single, before pinch runner John Ginanni took second base on a sacrifice bunt by Jordan Boustead. Summers got Ellis to fly out, but Bachofner doubled to left field, bringing Ginanni across the plate.

Willamette outhit Linfield, 13-11. Yamaguchi was 3 for 5 with a run scored. Tufo went 2 for 5, scored once and earned one RBI. Anderson also went 2 for 5, as he contributed two runs and an RBI. Eight of Willamette's nine starting batters recorded at least one hit. Ty Eriksen (Sr., LF, Vancouver, WA/La Salle HS), who entered the game as a pinch-htiter in the seventh inning, singled in the ninth, giving the Bearcats a hit from each spot in the order.

Linfield's top hitter was Bachofner, who went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs. Davis finsihed the game 2 for 5 with three RBIs and a run scored.

Willamette returns to action on Tuesday, April 17, when the Bearcats host cross-town rival Corban College. Game time at John Lewis Field is set for 4 p.m. (PDT). Willamette leads the intra-city rivalry, 2-0, with a 9-7 win on Feb. 3 and a 5-4 victory on April 3. The season series will conclude at Volcanoes Stadium in Kezier, Ore., on April 25 at 6 p.m. (PDT).

Willamette University 9, Linfield College 8 - Box Score

Kelly Gilmore hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to start Willamette's comeback from a 7-1 deficit for a 9-8 win over Linfield .

Kelly Gilmore hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to start Willamette's comeback from a 7-1 deficit for a 9-8 win over Linfield .