Bearcats Defeat Whitworth, 9-2, Fall to Northwest Nazarene, 8-7

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

NAMPA, IDAHO -- Willamette University defeated Whitworth University, 9-2, on Saturday morning, Feb. 20, to start the second day of the Northwest Nazarene Tournament. Later, the Bearcats were defeated by host Northwest Nazarene University, 8-7, in the final game of the two-day event. In the night game, WU scored twice in the top of the eighth to break a 5-5 tied, but NNU tallied three runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Willamette ended the weekend with a 2-2 overall record, including 2-2 in the tournament. Northwest Nazarene improved to 6-4 on the season, 3-1 in the tournament.

Oregon Institute of Technology and Whitworth University also competed in the tournament. Oregon Tech went 3-1 and Whitworth finished 0-4.

Against Whitworth, the Bearcats fell behind 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Michael Takemura singled as the leadoff batter for the Pirates and scored one out later on a single by J.R. Jarrell. Willamette starting pitcher Chris Torgerson (Jr., RHP, Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS) forced Landon Scott to hit into a double play to end the threat.

Willamette surged into a 3-1 lead in the top of the third. Doug Bloom (Jr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) singled to left field and moved to second on a ground out by Mitchell Rowan (So., DH/OF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS). T.C. Lee (Jr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) drove in Bloom with a double down the left field line. Max Stepan (Jr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) followed Lee and blasted a home run to right field.

The Pirates pulled within one run in the bottom of the inning. Takemura walked with one out and advanced to third on a double by Nick Ashley down the right field line. Takemure scored on a ground out by Jarrell. It was Whitworth's final run of the game.

Two runs in the fourth inning gave Willamette a 5-2 lead. Three more runs in the fifth inning and one run in the sixth extended the advantage to 9-2.

Bloom doubled, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rowan in the fourth. The 'Cats pounded out five hits during the inning, but left three runners on base.

In the fifth, Adam Reid (So., CF, San Jose, CA/Lynbrook HS) walked with two outs, stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch. Bloom also walked, putting runners at first and third. Rowan drove in three runs with a homer to left field.

Stepan reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Greg Hata to open the sixth inning. He scored later in the stanza on a single by Derek Collins (Fr., 1B, Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS).

Rowan was 2 for 3 during the game with four RBIs and one run scored. Bloom went 3 for 4 and scored three times. Lee was 2 for 5 with two runs and two doubles. Stepan provided a 2-for-3 performance that included a double in addition to his home run.

Takemura was 1 for 3 and scored both of Whitworth's runs. Dan Belet registered two hits in three at bats. Willamette outhit the Pirates, 13-10.

Torgerson (1-0) was the winning pitcher. He allowed eight hits and two runs in six innings. Nate Bender (Jr., RHP, Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) recorded a save after giving up just two hits and no runs in three innings. Nathan Johnson (0-1) took the loss for Whitworth.

In the late game, Northwest Nazarene registered 12 hits and benefited from five errors by Willamette, but the Crusaders had to battle the Bearcats throughout the evening. The Crusader took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on two walks, a double-steal, a wild pitch and a balk.

Willamette plated a trio of runs in the fourth inning to move in front, 3-2. With one out, Dylan Summers (So., C, Lake Oswego, OR/Lakeridge HS) walked, Tim Schilf (So., 3B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) singled and Kyle Kirwan (Fr., 1B, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) powered a 3-run homer to center field.

Each team tallied two runs in the fifth. Schilf provided a 2-RBI single for Willamette. For NNU, Nichola Hawes doubled and Jon Keller tripled in back-to-back at bats to drive in both of the Crusaders' runs.

Northwest Nazarene tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh. Windall singled with one out, stole second and scored when Hawes followed with a single to left field.

Willamette's two-run eighth inning featured a double to left center by Lee. Reid, who reached base on a fielder's choice, and Bloom, who went to first on a walk, both scored on the play.

Northwest Nazarene used three hits and two errors to rally with three runs in the ninth. Ryan Udy drove in the tying runs with a single to left field. With Udy at first, Ryan VanBeek flied out to left field and Sean McDonald lined out to Sky Kelly (Fr., OF, Canby, OR/Jesuit HS) in right field. Udy advanced to third on an errant pick-off throw to first base, then scored the winning run on a single by pinch-hitter Jesse Gwaltney.

Hawes led the Crusaders with three hits in four at bats. He also scored three times and drove in two runs. Ty Windall also scored three times for NNU.

Lee went 2 for 4 with and Schilf was 2 for 5 for Willamette. Kirwan walked twice in addition to hitting a 3-run homer. Lee and Schilf drove in Willamette's remaining runs with two RBIs apiece.

Ryan Brown (1-0), the fourth pitcher of the game for NNU, received the win. Parker Johnson (Fr., RHP, Carlsbad, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, fell to 0-1 with the loss.

Willamette will return to action on Friday, Feb. 26 with a single game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in Claremont, Calif. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will play CMS in a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 27 and will complete the road trip with one game against Chapman University on Sunday, Feb. 28.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 9
Whitworth University 2

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE
Northwest Nazarene University 8
Willamette University 7
Max Stepan hit a two-run homer in the third inning against Whitworth to give the Bearcats the lead for good in a 9-2 win.

Max Stepan hit a two-run homer in the third inning against Whitworth to give the Bearcats the lead for good in a 9-2 win.

Mitchell Rowan blasted a three-run homer in the fifth inning versus Whitworth.

Mitchell Rowan blasted a three-run homer in the fifth inning versus Whitworth.

T.C. Lee was a combined 4 for 9 at the plate with three doubles on Saturday.

T.C. Lee was a combined 4 for 9 at the plate with three doubles on Saturday.