Willamette Rallies with Three Runs in Ninth, Holds Off St. Vincent, 5-4

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

SANFORD, FLA. -- Willamette University scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to overcome a 3-2 deficit, then held off St. Vincent College in the bottom of the inning, as the WU Bearcats defeated the SVC Bearcats, 5-4, at Sanford Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 24. For Willamette, now 2-3 on the season, it was the fourth game decided by one run or with the winning run scored in the ninth inning or an extra inning. St. Vincent, playing its season opener, fell to 0-1.

WU tied the game at 3-3 when Ellis Webster (Jr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS) scored on a single by Sean Anderson (Sr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) in the ninth inning. Willamette took a 5-3 lead later in the inning on a two-run homer to left field by David Tufo (Jr., 3B, San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS).

In the bottom of the stanza, St. Vincent used a walk and a run-scoring double to pull within 5-4. Later in the inning, SVC had runners at first and third. A wild pitch appeared to bring home the tying run, but the umpires determined that the batter, Kenny Primeaux, interfered with the play and runner Mark Shouey was called out. Primeaux hit a grounder to second base for the final out of the game.

St. Vincent starting pitcher Rob Patula threw into the sixth inning, but gave up a two-out solo homer to Willamette's T.C. Lee in the sixth that tied the game, 1-1. It was WU's only hit off Patula. St. Vincent crept in front with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. WU cut the margin to 3-2 with a run in the seventh inning.

Willamette's run in the seventh was tallied by Anderson, who tripled to right field with two outs. Tufo walked to put runners at first and third, then Kyle Stalker (Jr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) drove in Anderson with a single to right field. Tufo went to third on the play, but SVC reliever Darren Smith forced a ground out to end the threat.

WU starter Jarrid Summers (Jr., RHP, Boise, ID/Boise HS) nearly matched Patula during the first five innings. He limited SVC to one run and four hits until the bottom of the sixth. Two of the hits were achieved in the third inning, when Dave Jones doubled, stole third base and scored on an infield single. Summers left the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth.

Relief pitcher Chris Torgerson (Fr., RHP, Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS) entered the game with SVC leading 2-1 and runners at first and third. He gave up a sacrifice fly to the first batter he faced, allowing Primeaux to score and sending Abe Weimer to second on the throw home. SVC used a wild pitch, a walk and a stolen base to put runners at second and third, but Torgerson struck out Jones to end the inning.

Torgerson threw a total of 2 2/3 innings for Willamette. He walked Jones to start the ninth inning and was replaced by Jack McGee (Jr., RHP, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS). Shouey batted next and drove in Jones with a double to right field. An out and a single followed, putting runners at the corners. The controversial interference play, plus Pirmeaux's ground out, completed the game.

The win was credited to Torgerson, who allowed one run and one hit. McGee earned his first save of the season. Chris Zampogna of SVC took the loss.

Lee and Tufo provided the big hits of the game with their home runs. Anderson contributed two hits in three at bats, while scoring two runs and providing an RBI. Stalker went 2 for 5 with one RBI.

For St. Vincent, Weimer was 2 for 3 and Shouey was 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Jones scored two of SVC's four runs.

Willamette will complete its Florida trip with a single game against Hanover College (Ind.) on Monday, Feb. 25. First pitch at Sanford Memorial Stadium is set for 9 a.m. (EST)/6 a.m. (PST).

Willamette University 5, St. Vincent College 4
Third baseman David Tufo walked three times, and hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, to help WU defeat St. Vincent.

Third baseman David Tufo walked three times, and hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, to help WU defeat St. Vincent.