Willamette Rallies from 9-0 Deficit to Defeat Whitman in Eight Innings, 11-9

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

WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- Willamette University rallied from a 9-0 deficit by scoring nine runs with two outs in the sixth inning, and the Bearcats went on to defeat Whitman College, 11-9 in eight innings, to start a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Sunday, April 5. The Bearcats completed the day with a 15-6 win in the second game, as WU swept the four-game series.

Willamette upped its record to 12-11 overall, including 8-7 in the NWC. Whitman dropped to 3-18 overall, 2-13 in the NWC.

In the first five innings of the opener, Willamette had just two hits and a total of six base runners. Whitman scored three runs in the second inning, three more in the third and three in the fourth to build a 9-0 lead.

Jack McGee (Sr., DH/RHP, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS) walked and Kyle Stalker (Sr., 1B, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS) singled to open the sixth, but Whitman starter Pete Stadmeyer struck out T.C. Lee (So., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) for the first out. Mitchell Rowan (Fr., RF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) hit into a fielder's choice, with Stalker thrown out at second.

The Missionaries still held a 9-0 and there were two outs in the sixth inning. WU's enormous rally followed.

David Tufo (Sr., 3B, San Bruno, CA/Burlingame HS) walked to load the bases. Max Stepan (So., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) hit a bases-clearing double to left center, cutting the lead to 9-3. After a walk and a wild pitch, Michael Dearborn (So., CF, Solana Beach, CA/Torrey Pines HS) added an RBI single. Doug Bloom (So., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) drove in the next two runs with a single, which forced Stadmeyer from the mound with Whitman's lead at 9-6.

Relief pitcher Peter Olson walked McGee to put runners at first and second. Stalker smacked a three-run homer to center field to tie the game. Lee followed with a single down the left field line, but Olson forced Rowan into a fly out to end the inning.

McGee, 2-0, went to the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning and threw the final three frames for Willamette to earn the win. He faced just three batters in the sixth.

WU had a chance to pull ahead in the top of the seventh when Webster doubled down the left field line with two outs, but Olson got Dearborn to ground out to end the threat. McGee hit Erik Korsmo with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but quickly ended the inning with back-to-back ground outs.

The Bearcats grabbed the lead in the top of the eighth by scoring two runs. Bloom singled, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt to the mound by McGee. Stalker was intentionally walked. Lee also walked to load the bases.

Rowan brought home Bloom and moved Stalker to third with a sacrifice fly to center field. Tufo hit into an error by the third baseman, allowing Stalker to score an insurance run.

In the bottom of the eighth, McGee gave up a lead-off single to Blaine Mercado. Webster, Bloom and Stalker recorded a 4-6-3 double play to wipe the bases clean. Matt Morris-Rosenfeld kept the inning alive with a double. He was left at second base when McGee struck out Dan White to end the game.

With the momentum on its side, Willamette surged out to a 10-0 lead in the first three innings of the second game. Rowan provided the only run of the first inning on a solo homer to right field.

In the second inning, Willamette recorded five runs on five hits and one error. Bloom brought in the first two runs when he reached base on an error by shortstop Jay Richards with the bases loaded. Tufo and Dan Maslanik (Sr., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) scored on the play, with Bloom receiving one RBI. McGee added an RBI single and Stalker contributed a two-RBI single during the inning.

WU plated four runs in the top of the third. Maslanik and Webster singled, but the Missionaries caught back-to-back outfield fly balls, before McGee drove in Maslanik with a single up the middle. Olson, who started the second game on the mound, was relieved by Korsmo. Stalker belted a double to center field to score Webster and McGee. Lee walked and Stepan doubled to bring Stalker across the plate.

WU increased the lead to 13-0 with a three-run homer by Stalker in the fourth inning. It was his seventh homer of the season and the 43rd of his career.

Stalker became Willamette's all-time RBI leader during the game. He now has 143 career RBIs. He broke the previous record of 137, set by Nik Lubisich from 1998-01 and by Ryan Hazelbaker from 1997-00.

Whitman tallied six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Korsmo began the inning by hitting a home run to right field. The Missionaries achieved five hits during the inning, including a run-scoring double by Jason Sease.

The game's final two runs were scored by Willamette in the sixth inning on a home run by Rowan. It was Rowan's second homer of the game and his fifth of the season.

Starter Devin Grindy (So., RHP, Wasougal, WA/Camas HS) threw the first five innings to register the win for the Bearcats. He evened his record at 3-3. Quinn Humphries (So., RHP, Littleton, CO/Chatfield HS) did not allow a run or a hit while pitching the final two innings for WU. Olson received both losses for Whitman in the doubleheader and fell to 1-3 on the season.

Stalker was 4 for 4 with seven RBIs and two runs scored in the second game. He was 6 of 8 with 10 RBIs and four runs in the doubleheader. He hit a double and two homers.

Bloom, Stepan and Webster joined Stalker with two hits in the first game. Morris-Rosenfeld and Mercado were both 3 of 5 for Whitman in the opener.

McGee was 3 for 4 in the second game with three runs and two RBIs, while Webster was 3 for 4 and crossed the plate three times. Rowan went 2 for 5 with two homers and three RBIs. Stepan went 2 for 3.

The Bearcats will take on cross-town rival Corban College in a non-conference game on Tuesday, April 10. Game time at John Lewis Field is set for 4 p.m. (PDT). Willamette will host the University of Puget Sound in a four-game NWC series on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE
Willamette University 11
Whitman College 9
8 innings
GAME #2 - BOX SCORE
Willamette University 15
Whitman College 6
Kyle Stalker tied the first game with a 3-run homer. He went 6 for 8 during the doubleheader with two homers, a double and 10 RBIs.

Kyle Stalker tied the first game with a 3-run homer. He went 6 for 8 during the doubleheader with two homers, a double and 10 RBIs.

Max Stepan drove in three runs with a double in the sixth inning of the first game.

Max Stepan drove in three runs with a double in the sixth inning of the first game.

Jack McGree was the winning pitcher in the first game.

Jack McGree was the winning pitcher in the first game.

Mitchell Rowan blasted two home runs in the second game. He has five homers on the season.

Mitchell Rowan blasted two home runs in the second game. He has five homers on the season.