Menlo Rallies Past Bearcats for 6-5 Win

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

PALO ALTO, CALIF. -- Menlo College scored five runs on four hits and one error in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally from a 5-1 deficit and defeat Willamette University, 6-5, in the first game of a three-game non-conference series. Menlo improved to 2-7 overall. Willamette dropped to 5-3.

Kyle Stalker (Sr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) hit the game's only home run, a two-run shot in Willamette's three-run third inning. It was his third home run of the season and the 39th of his career.

Neither team scored in the first two innings. In the top of the third, Doug Bloom (So., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) reached base on an error and stole second base. He scored on a single by Michael Dearborn (So., CF, Solana Beach, CA/Torrey Pines HS). Stalker followed with his home run, as WU took a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Menlo struck for one run. With one out, Ty Finley singled. He stole second, then scored on a two-out single by Chris Mazza. It was Menlo's only run until the eighth-inning rally.

WU tacked on two runs in the sixth stanza. Dan Maslanik (Sr., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) doubled to start the inning. Ellis Webster (Sr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito Academy) walked and Dearborn also walked on out later to load the bases.

Ray Lozada replaced starter Sam Chang on the mound for Menlo and hit Stalker to drive in Maslanik. T.C. Lee (So., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) reached first on an error, and Webster scored on the play.

Ryan Hood-Taylor (So., RHP, Scio, OR/Scio HS) of Willamette limited the Oaks to just three hits, all singles, in the first seven innings. He gave up back-to-back singles to Ricky Grech and Finley to open the bottom of the eighth. Hood-Taylor responded by getting John Franco to fly out and setting down Mazza with a strikeout. Joel Hull walked to load the bases and Hood-Taylor left the game.

Reliever Colin Clark (Sr., RHP, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) walked Shane Parsons to force in the first run of the inning. Kyle Wilkerson drove home three more runs with a double to tie the score.

WU had a chance to end the inning, but Nick von Sonn reached first base on an error. Wilkerson scored on the next play, when Rob Monderine singled off WU's second reliever, Jack McGee (Sr., RHP, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS). McGee forced Grech into a pop-up to end the inning.

Menlo reliever Brian Phillips, who entered the game in the eighth inning, faced just three batters in the ninth. He struck out two batters before causing McGee to grounded out to end the game.

Phillips moved to 1-0 with the win. He finished with three strikeouts and allowed just two hits. Clark, 0-1, suffered the loss for Willamette. Hood-Taylor struck out 11 batters and allowed only two walks during his 7 2/3 innings on the mound.

Both teams earned seven hits. Finley was the only Menlo player with more than one hit, as he went 2 for 3 and scored twice. Wilkerson was 1 for 3, scored once and drove in three runs. Bloom was Willamette's only player with more than one hit. He went 2 for 4 and scored once. Stalker finished 1 for 3 with a run and three RBIs.

The Bearcats and the Oaks will conclude the series with two games at Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif., on Sunday, March 8. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (PDT).

Menlo College 6
Willamette University 5