Bloom Goes 3 for 4 as Bearcats Down Lutes in First Game, 10-8

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Freshman shortstop Doug Bloom (Salem, OR/South Salem HS) went 3 for 4 and drove in four runs to lead Willamette University to a 10-8 victory over Pacific Lutheran University, in the first game of a doubleheader, Friday, March 21 at John Lewis Field. Starting pitcher Clint Moran (Sr., LHP, Mission Viejo, CA/Capistrano Valley HS) threw into the eighth inning to earn the win. In the second game, PLU starter Robert Bleecker tossed a complete game with nine strikeouts and one walk, as the Lutes claimed a 6-2 win.

After splitting the doubleheader, the Bearcats moved to 10-9 overall, 6-4 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran ended the day with a 9-8-2 overall record, including 7-7 in the NWC.

Bloom blasted one double, hit two singles and walked once in the opener. His double down the left field line drove in the final two runs in a four-run seventh inning that allowed WU to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 10-6 lead. In the second game, Bloom went 2 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored. He was 5 for 8 during the doubleheader with three doubles, two runs and four RBIs.

Pacific Lutheran scored three runs in the top of the first inning of both games. In the opener, the three runs weren't enough, as Willamette rallied for the win.

The Bearcats quickly cut the lead to 3-1 when Sean Anderson (Sr., CF, Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) belted a solo home run to open the bottom of the first inning. WU pulled within 3-2 in the second inning, as Jordan Roberts (Sr., DH/OF, Portland, OR/Grant HS) hit a bunt single, stole second and scored on a single up the middle by Bloom.

PLU increased its lead to 4-2 on a solo homer by Jordan Post with one out in the third inning. Willamette countered with four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-4 lead.

Bloom drove in Anderson with the first run on a single to left field. Bloom advanced to third on a single by Kyle Stalker (Jr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) and crossed the plate when T.C. Lee (Fr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) reached on an error. The final two runs came home on a single up the middle by Jack McGee (Jr., 3B/P, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS).

The Lutes surged in front with three runs in the fifth inning. Ryan Aratani had the big hit in the inning, a two-run double down the right field line to tie the game, 6-6. Andrew Hernandez followed with a single that scored Carl Benton from third base to give PLU a 7-6 lead.

WU engineered the game's final rally in the bottom of the seventh. Colin Young (Sr., RF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) walked to open the stanza. McGee singled and Dan Maslanik (Jr., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) walked to load the bases.

Ellis Webster (Jr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS) batted next and hit into a fielder's choice by shortstop Sammy Davis. The throw by Davis pulled Benton off second base, allowing Maslanik and McGee to advance and Young to score the tying run.

Roberts hit into a double play for the first two outs of the inning, but McGee scored as WU took an 8-7 lead. Maslanik went to third on the play, then Anderson followed with a walk. Bloom provided his two-RBI double to give Willamette a pair of insurance runs.

PLU tallied a run in the eighth inning when Hansen hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that Young caught near the fence in right field. The threat ended when Benton hit into a double play to end the inning. Scott Martin (So., RHP, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School), who replaced Moran to face the final two batters in the top of the eighth, faced just three more batters in the ninth to earn his first save.

Moran improved to 2-2 with the win. PLU reliever Paul DiPietro dropped to 1-2 with the loss.

Bloom's 3-for-4 performance led WU in the opener. Anderson went 2 for 4 with three runs and an RBI, while McGee was 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs.

Aratani was 2 for 3 with three RBIs for the Lutes. Post finished the game 2 for 2 with two walks and three runs. Josh Takayoshi was 2 for 5 and scored twice.

In Game #2, Pacific Lutheran's three runs in the first inning were the only tallies for either team until the bottom of the eighth. In fact, three of PLU's four hits during eight innings against WU starter Kelsey Nakata (Jr., RHP, Mililani, HI/Mililani HS) were achieved in the first stanza.

With one out, Brandon Sales and Post hit back-to-back singles. Left fielder Kris Hansen followed with a three-run homer to left center.

Bleecker kept Willamette off the scoreboard until the eighth inning. With two outs in the eighth, Bloom doubled to center field, then scored to break up the shutout on a single by Stalker. Young hit a solo homer for the Bearcats in the ninth inning.

Willamette outhit the Lutes, 9-6 in the nightcap, but Bleecker's nine strikeouts allowed him to keep the Bearcats from getting into a rhythm on offense. Bleecker walked just one batter during the game.

Eight of WU's nine hits were by four players. Bloom, Anderson, Stalker and third baseman David Tufo (Jr., San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS) each went 2 for 4 for the Bearcats. Tufo hit the only triple of the game. PLU's six hits were recorded by six players.

Bleecker upped his record to 3-0 with the win for the Lutes. Nakata fell to 1-1 with the loss, despite giving up just three runs in eight innings. He allowed four hits and six walks.

The teams will complete their four-game Northwest Conference series with another doubleheader on Saturday, March 22. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PDT).

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 10, Pacific Lutheran University 8

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Pacific Lutheran University 6, Willamette University 2

Doug Bloom recorded five hits in eight at bats during Willamette's two games on Friday, March 21.

Doug Bloom recorded five hits in eight at bats during Willamette's two games on Friday, March 21.