Stalker Smacks Three Homers, Including a Grand Slam, in 15-13 Win over L&C

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Kyle Stalker (Jr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) pounded out three home runs, including a grand slam, to lead Willamette University to a 15-13 victory over Lewis & Clark College on Saturday, March 1 in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams. Willamette led in the second game, 4-3 after five and half innings, when play was suspended due to darkness. The teams will resume the game at 11 a.m. (PST) on Sunday, March 2, prior to the doubleheader previously scheduled.

Stalker drove in a total of eight runs during the game. In addition to the grand slam in the sixth inning, he also hit a solo homer in the fifth inning and a three-run homer in the seventh. T.C. Lee tacked on two solo homers for the Bearcats, who led 15-2 after seven innings, but had to hold off the Pioneers after L&C scored five times in the eighth inning and six times in the ninth. WU starting pitcher Clint Moran (1-0) threw six-plus innings and allowed just two runs (one earned) to record the win.

Neither team scored in the first three innings. The Bearcats recorded the game's initial run on Lee's first homer of the game with one out in the bottom of the fourth.

Willamette plated two additional runs during the fourth inning. Colin Young (Sr., RF, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) scored on a fielder's choice by Dan Maslanik (Jr., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS). Jack McGee (Jr., 3B/P, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS) reached home on a sacrifice fly by Ellis Webster (Jr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito HS).

L&C cut the lead to 3-1 with a run in the fifth, but WU countered with a run in the bottom of the inning on Stalker's solo shot. Willamette added six runs in the sixth inning for a 10-1 advantage. The first run scored when Doug Bloom (Fr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) hit into an error. The next four crossed the plate on Stalker's grand slam to right field. The final run of the inning was driven in by McGee on a double to right field.

Moran walked the first batter in the top of the seventh inning, then gave up an outfield single to Ryan Kostecka. Moran, who threw 133 pitches, left the game after Kostecka's hit.

Ross Martin relieved Moran and forced A.J. Brown to hit into a double play, with outs at third and first, while Kostecka advanced to second. Ryan Wlodarczyk was hit by a pitch and Sam Holman followed with an RBI single to right center.

After Kostecka scored in the top of the seventh, the Bearcats responded with five runs to extend the lead to 15-2. Back-to-back doubles by Maslanik and Webster created the first run. Stalker drove in three runs with his final homer of the game. Lee also homered to completed the Willamette scoring surge.

The next two innings were a struggle for the WU pitching staff. In the eighth inning, the Bearcats gave up five runs on seven hits. In the ninth stanza, L&C produced six more runs and ended the game with the tying runs at second and third. A total of four pitchers were used by Willamette during the two innings.

Tucker Laurence provided the Pioneers with their final hit of the game, a double to center field that drove in T.J. Witkowski and Tsunehiro Ono. Neal Finch advanced to third on the play. The next batter, Jordan Shibata hit a deep fly ball to center field that Sean Anderson (Sr., Klamath Falls, OR/Klamath Union HS) caught above his head just in front of the warning track.

The game-ending catch was one of two stellar defensive plays by Anderson. In the third inning, Finch was the leadoff batter. He belted a fly ball that forced Anderson to run as fast as he could toward the center field fence. Anderson dove into the air and caught the ball, then landed on the warning track.

WU's defense, with the exception of one error, was excellent. The Bearcats turned five double plays. L&C was credited with turning three double plays, but the Pioneers also committed three errors.

Stalker was 3 for 5 for Willamette, while Lee finished 3 of 4. Anderson added two hits, as did Young, McGee and Maslanik. Webster finished 1 for 2 with a walk, two runs and two RBIs.

Holman led Lewis & Clark with a 4-for-5 effort. He drove in four runs and scored once. L&C's 12 hits in the final two innings enabled the Pioneers to outhit WU 20-16 overall. Six L&C players registered two hits apiece. Starting pitcher Jordon Smiley (0-1) took the loss.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 15, Lewis & Clark College 13

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 4, Lewis & Clark College 3 - Suspended after 5 1/2 innings due to darkness

Kyle Stalker hit a solo homer, a three-run homer and a grand slam in the first game against Lewis & Clark.

Kyle Stalker hit a solo homer, a three-run homer and a grand slam in the first game against Lewis & Clark.