Willamette Splits Doubleheader with CSU-East Bay

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

HAYWARD, CALIF. -- Michael Rierson drove in Doug Bloom with the eventual winning run on a single in the top of the 12th inning, as Willamette University defeated California State University-East Bay, 6-5, in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 21. East Bay took the second contest, 8-3, in a game that was called due to darkness in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Bearcats won the three-game series and are 2-1 on the season. WU hit .333 during the series, while holding CSU-East Bay to a .264 team batting average.

CSU-East Bay forced the extra inning by scoring once in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score at 5-5. Chad Masters singled with one out, moved to second on a balk and scored on a single by Jake Walter.

Jack McGee (Sr., DH/RHP, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS) went to the mound for Willamette and pitched the next 4 2/3 innings to record the win. He struck out three batters, allowed no walks and gave up two hits.

It was the longest pitching appearance of McGee's career. Last year, he made nine relief appearances and finished with four saves, but never threw more than two innings at a time.

McGee had to work out of a jam in the 11th on Saturday. With one out, Joey Luomo was hit by a pitch and Devin Grigg singled. After a popup, Mark Marelich was at the plate. He reached first on catcher's interference to load the bases. McGee got Chris Romo to ground into a fielder's choice toward third base, with Marelich forced out at second.

The extended relief performance by McGee paid off when Bloom singled to start the top of the 12th. David Tufo (Sr., 3B, San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS) provided a sacrifice bunt to move Bloom into scoring position. Kyle Stalker (Sr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS), who went 2 for 4 with a home run, was intentionally walked.

CSU-East Bay pitcher Cody Hazen struck out pinch-hitter Mitchell Rowan (Fr., OF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) for the second out of the inning. Rierson followed with a base hit, allowing Bloom to score the go-ahead run.

Hazen then walked Dan Maslanik (Sr., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) to load the bases, but escaped further damage by striking out McGee, who started the game as WU's designated hitter and went 2 for 5 at the plate.

McGree faced just three batters in the bottom of the 12th. He struck out pinch-hitter John Howard and caused Jimmy Ly to fly out to center field. Masters popped up to Stalker at first base to end the game.

Bloom was 3 for 6 with two runs scored. Colin Clark went 2 for 5 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. In addition to recording two hits, Stalker also walked twice. His home run was a solo shot with two outs in the seventh inning.

In the second half of the doubleheader, East Bay built a 3-1 lead in the first inning. Willamette pulled within 3-2 on a solo homer by Michael Dearborn (So., 2B, Solana Beach, CA/Torrey Pines HS) to lead off the third stanza. The 'Cats tied the game in the fifth inning, when Tufo doubled with one out, moved to second on a single by Stalker, and scored on a double steal.

The Pioneers responded with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. CSU-East Bay benefited from five hits and one error during the inning. Brian Lloyd brought in the first run with a single. Two more Pioneers scored on a single by Masters, with the final run crossing the plate as the result of an error on the play.

Aaron Hannigan, 1-0, pitched all seven innings for the Pioneers to record the win. He allowed six hits, struck out five batters and gave up three walks.

Reliever Blake Paisley (Fr., RHP, Saratoga, CA/Saratoga HS), 0-1, took the loss for Willamette. David Stott (So., RHP, Gervais, OR/Gervais HS) threw 1 1/3 innings in relief for the Bearcats and earned three strikeouts, while allowing only an unearned run in the sixth.

Willamette will play at Lewis & Clark College in the Bearcats' first Northwest Conference action of the year on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, March 1. The teams will play two 9-inning games on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. (PST), and will play two 7-inning games on Sunday, with the first game set to begin at 11 a.m.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 6
Cal State-East Bay 5 (12 innings)

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE
Cal State-East Bay 8
Willamette University 3
Jack McGee pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the win in WU's 12-inning victory.

Jack McGee pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for the win in WU's 12-inning victory.

Doug Bloom hit .571 (8 of 14) and scored seven runs in the three-game series.

Doug Bloom hit .571 (8 of 14) and scored seven runs in the three-game series.