Bearcats Win Suspended Game, then Split Doubleheader, against Pioneers

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University won the continuation of Saturday's suspended game, 8-4, then split the regularly scheduled doubleheader, winning 9-1 and falling 10-8, as the Bearcats completed their four-game Northwest Conference series with Lewis & Clark College on Sunday, March 2 at John Lewis Field. Willamette ended the day at 6-4 overall, 3-1 in the Northwest Conference. Lewis & Clark went to 3-5 overall, 1-3 in the NWC.

Kyle Stalker (Jr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS), who blasted three homers in Willamette's 15-13 win in the first game on Saturday, continued to supply power on Sunday. He pounded out two homers in the first scheduled game and added another in the second game of the doubleheader. After hitting his sixth home run of the series and 10th of the season in the bottom of the first inning of the final game, he was intentionally walked four times.

During the weekend, Stalker hit a total of six home runs. He has established a new Willamette record with 24 career home runs, breaking the previous record of 21, set by Grant Trenbeath from 1990-93. Stalker needs three more homers to equal WU's season record (13), registered by Tony Barron in 1987.

Tye Sundlee (Sr., RHP, Yakima, WA/West Valley HS) pitched the last inning of the continued game, then threw a complete-game victory with five strikeouts and no walks in the opener of Sunday's doubleheader. Jarrid Summers (Jr., RHP, Boise, ID/Boise HS) threw into the fourth inning of the second scheduled game, but allowed nine runs on 10 hits and took the loss.

The second game of the series was started on Saturday, but was suspended due to darkness after five and half innings with WU leading 4-3. Max Stepan (Fr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) of Willamette and Jordan Wlodarczyk of Lewis & Clark each belted a two-run homer prior to the suspension.

When play resumed, relief pitchers Chris Torgerson (Fr., RHP, Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS) from WU and Dan Meehan from Lewis & Clark, who both entered the game on Saturday, continued to pitch for their respective squads.

Meehan faced just four batters in the bottom of the sixth inning. Torgerson gave up one run in the seventh, after L&C catcher Neal Finch doubled down the left field line to open the stanza, moved to third on a single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sami Morgan.

The score remained 4-4 until Willamette surged into the lead in the bottom of the eighth. The 'Cats tallied four runs during the inning -- all with two outs.

The rally started with a walk issued to Doug Bloom (Fr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS). Bloom stole second base before Sean Anderson (Sr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) and David Tufo (Jr., 3B, San Bruno, CA/ Burlingame HS) walked. Rather than risk giving up a grand slam to Stalker, the Pioneers pitched around the power hitter and eventually gave up another walk to drive in Bloom with the go-ahead run.

Anderson scored on a wild pitch to give WU a 6-4 advantage. T.C. Lee (Fr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) brought home two more runs on an infield single to second base. Sundlee went to the mound in the top of the ninth and faced just three batters to secure the win.

When the first scheduled game began, Sundlee went back to the mound and provided a solid performance. During his complete-game win, he limited the Pioneers to just seven hits, all singles. He threw 101 pitches, with 66 going for strikes.

Stalker opened the scoring with a two-out homer in the first inning. L&C evened the score in the top of the second on an RBI single by Morgan, but WU took a 2-1 lead when Michael Rierson (So., DH/OF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and Ellis Webster (Jr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS) belted back-to-back doubles. The Bearcats extended the lead to 5-1 in the third inning, as Lee provided an RBI single and Rierson drove in two runs with another double.

Rierson also drove in a run in the fifth inning when he reached first base on a bases-load fielder's choice. In the sixth inning, Willamette increased the lead to 9-1, as Tufo hit an RBI single down the right field line and Stalker smacked a two-run homer over the right field fence.

Stalker was 2 for 2 with four runs and three RBIs during the game. Rierson went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a run scored. Lee, who went 2 for 5 with four RBIs in the suspended game, followed up with two hits in three at bats in Sunday's first scheduled game.

Tucker Laurence went 2 for 3 with a run scored for L&C. Morgan also went 2 for 3 and registered one RBI.

The final game of the series turned on two big innings for the Pioneers in the middle of the seven-inning game. Even so, Willamette was in front during the early innings and almost rallied past Lewis & Clark late in the game.

WU took a 2-0 lead on Stalker's sixth homer of the weekend. He sent the ball out of the park through center field in the bottom of the first inning.

L&C had just one hit in each of the first two innings, but exploded for five runs and five hits in the third stanza. Jordan Shibata and Morgan started the comeback with RBI doubles. Later, Wlodarczyk and Sam Holman recorded RBI singles. Green brought in the final run with a sacrifice fly.

The Pioneers moved four more runners around the bases in the fourth inning. Shibata drove in the first two runs with a home run down the right field line. Wlodarczyk also hit a two-run homer during the inning.

Willamette trailed 9-2, but tallied two runs in the fourth stanza and two more in the fifth to reduce the lead. Jack McGee (Jr., 3B/RHP, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS) and Webster score in the fourth inning, while Colin Young (Sr., RF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) homered to start the fifth inning and Stepan added a run on a single by Bloom.

L&C tacked on a run in the sixth inning to increase its lead to 10-6. In the bottom of the seventh, WU mounted a rally, as Stepan walked, Webster singled and Bloom was hit by a pitch. Rierson ran for Stepan, and scored when Anderson hit into a fielder's choice. James Perez (So., DH/OF, Petaluma, CA/Petaluma HS) drove in Webster on a ground out, cutting the lead to 10-8.

With two outs and Anderson at third base, the Pioneers intentionally walked Stalker for the fourth time during the game. Stalker represented the tying run, as Lee went to the plate. L&C relief pitcher Evan Fairmont struck out Lee to end the game.

Wlodarczyk was 3 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored for Lewis & Clark. Five other Pioneers recorded two hits apiece, helping L&C finished with 14 hits in the game.

Willamette achieved 10 hits, including a 3-for-3 performance from Bloom, who also earned six assists on defense. Stalker was 1 for 1 with a homer and four walks. Anderson went 1 for 5, but drove in two runs and scored once. Webster was 1 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.

Laurence threw five complete innings for L&C and moved to 2-0 with the win. He gave up nine hits and six runs, while striking out four batters and walking three. Summers dropped to 0-1 on the season for the Bearcats.

Willamette will host California State University-East Bay in a three-game series in non-conference action next weekend. The Bearcats and CSU-EB will play two games on Saturday, March 8, starting at 11 a.m. (PST) and will play one game on Sunday, March 9 at 12 p.m. (PDT).

Saturday's Suspended Game - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 8, Lewis & Clark College 4

SHCEDULED GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 9, Lewis & Clark College 1

SHCEDULED GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Lewis & Clark College 10, Willamette University 8

Kyle Stalker hit six home runs during the four-game series against Lewis & Clark.

Kyle Stalker hit six home runs during the four-game series against Lewis & Clark.