Young Hits Two Homers as WU Splits with George Fox

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Colin Young (Sr., RF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) hit a three-run homer in the first inning and added a solo homer in the seventh, leading Willamette University to an 11-2 win over Northwest Conference leader George Fox University in the second game game of a doubleheader on Saturday, March 15 at Morse Field. George Fox scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the first game, 6-5.

The Bearcats concluded the day with an 8-7 overall record, including 4-2 in the NWC. George Fox went to 11-4 on the season, 8-2 in the NWC. The Bruins are tied with Linfield College (8-2) for first place in the conference. Willamette and the University of Puget Sound (6-2) are even with the leaders in the loss column.

Willamette and George Fox had to fight the weather, which forced several rain delays on Saturday. The first game included a 21-minute delay int he top of the ninth inning. The second game featured delays of 16 minutes in the bottom of the first and 23 minutes in the top of the fourth.

In the second game, Kelsey Nakata (Jr., RHP, Mililani,HI/Mililani HS) kept George Fox off the scoreboard for eight innings. He faced four batters in the bottom of the ninth, including Perry Knudson, who opened the inning by reaching on an error. The error eventually led to two unearned runs for the Bruins.

Scott Martin (So., RHP, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) relieved Nakata after the first run scored with one out. Martin gave up a run-scoring grounder to Cody Curtin, then ended the game when Dan Winterstein also hit into a ground out.

Nakata received plenty of run support, as the Bearcats scored 10 runs in the first four innings. Young's three-run blast with two outs in the bottom of the first got the offense going.

Two walks and a hit batsman in the third inning set up another three runs for Willamette. Ellis Webster (Jr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS) brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Sean Anderson (Sr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) drove in the next run when GFU was unable to record an out on a fielder's choice. The third run reached the plate when David Tufo (Jr., 3B, San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS) hit into a bases-loaded error.

The Bearcats tallied four runs in the fourth. Doug Bloom (Fr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) earned the first RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Two more runs crossed the plate on a single by Anderson. The final run of the stanza was scored by Bloom when Kyle Stalker (Jr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) hit into an error by the second baseman.

Willamette maintained its 10-0 lead until the seventh inning, when Young smacked his second homer of the game. The solo shot went over the left field fence. It was Young's fourth homer of the season.

Young finished the game 2 for 2 with four runs, four RBIs and three walks. T.C. Lee (Fr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) went 3 for 6 and scored twice. Anderson was 2 for 6 with three RBIs and catcher Max Stepan (Fr., Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. WU achieved 11 hits overall, while GFU committed four errors on defense.

Nakata (1-0) limited George Fox to six hits. He also registered three strikeouts and gave up three walks. The Bruins' six hits were earned by six different players. Starter Brady Rhodes (1-1) suffered the loss for GFU.

In the opener, Willamette took a 1-0 lead when Stalker hit his 12th home run of the season with two outs in the top of the first inning. He moved within one homer of WU's season record of 13 homers, set by 13 Tony Barron in 1987. Stalker is Willamette's career leader with 26 home runs.

The Bearcats increased the lead to 2-0 in the top of the second by scoring again with two outs. Anderson put down a bunt single to start the rally. Anderson stole second, then scored on a single by Bloom.

George Fox moved into the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second. With one out Kyle Kuenzi singled and Todd Siler doubled. Winterstein drove in both runners with a triple to left center. Winterstein scored the third run when Kyle Seymour grounded out to third base.

Two runs in the fifth inning increased GFU's advantage to 5-2. Cody Spencer recorded an RBI on a single to right field and Ryan Fobert sent a sacrifice fly to center field.

WU evened the score at 5-5 with three runs of its own in the sixth inning. Jack McGee (Jr., 3B/P, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS) walked with one out, moved to third on a double by Dan Maslanik (Jr., C, Boulder CO/Fairview HS) and scored when Webster reached base on a throwing error. Maslanik scored on a ground out by Jordan Roberts (Sr., OF/DH, Portland, OR/Grant HS) and Ellis scored on a double by Anderson.

Both teams failed to score during their next three at bats. WU almost produced a run in the top of the ninth, but Bloom was thrown out at the plate while attempting to score from second on a single by Lee.

In the bottom of the ninth, Winterstein singled with no outs and Seymour bunted him to second. Josh Burch hit a grounder to third base and was thrown out at first. As soon as McGee threw the ball to first, Winterstein headed toward third base. Stalker attempted to throw him out, but Winterstein was hit in the helmet and scored on the play.

Brian Davis, who pitched the ninth inning for GFU, improved to 3-0 with the win. Nick Bratney threw the first eight innings for the Bruins and struck out five batters, while allowing three walks. Bratney gave up all five WU runs and was on the mound for 10 of 12 hits by the Bearcats.

Clint Moran (Sr., LHP, Mission Viejo, CA/Capistrano Valley HS) threw all 8 2/3 innings and took the loss for Willamette, as he fell to 1-2 on the season. Moran gave up six runs (five earned) and allowed eight hits. He struck out six batters and gave up four walks.

Winterstein paced George Fox in the second game. He was 3 of 4 with two runs and two RBIs. Lee was WU's top hitter during the game, as he went 3 for 4 at the plate. Anderson, Bloom and Maslanik contributed two hits apiece for the Bearcats.

The four-game NWC series is scheduled to conclude on Sunday, March 15 with a doubleheader at GFU, starting at 12 p.m. (PDT).

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

George Fox University 6, Willamette University 5

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 11, George Fox University 2

Colin Young blasted two homers in Willamette's 11-2 win over George Fox.

Colin Young blasted two homers in Willamette's 11-2 win over George Fox.