Homers by Bloom and Rowan Power Bearcats Past L&C, 11-7

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Junior shortstop Doug Bloom (Salem, OR/South Salem HS) smacked a three-run homer in the fourth inning and sophomore designated hitter Mitchell Rowan (Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) blasted a solo homer in the eighth, leading Willamette University to an 11-7 victory over Lewis & Clark College on Sunday, March 7. It was the second home run of the season for both players.

The win at John Lewis Field allowed WU to claim its opening NWC series of the season, 2-1. Willamette also improved to 4-6 overall. L&C dropped to 3-7 on the season, 2-4 in the NWC.

Willamette and the Pioneers played a back-and-forth game that featured five ties until the Bearcats took the lead for good in the seventh inning. WU finished with 13 hits, while Lewis & Clark amassed 12 hits in the loss.

Rowan was 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. In addition to his homer, Rowan provided a single in the first inning and a double in the fifth. He also received a walk in the third inning.

Bloom finished 2 for 4 with a run and the three RBIs from his home run. Sky Kelley (Fr., RF, Canby, OR/Jesuit HS) went 3 for 5, led WU with three runs scored and drove in two runs.

Four L&C players registered two hits apiece. Jim Bray was 2 for 3, while Nate Grisham and Tucker Laurence each went 2 for 4. Sami Morgan was 2 for 5, including a solo homer that gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the first inning.

WU tied the score at 1-1 in the third inning, when Adam Reid (So., CF, San Jose, CA/Lynbrook HS) walked, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher and scored on a single by Tim Schilf (So., 3B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School).

L&C surged back in front with two runs in the top of the fourth. Grisham doubled down the right field line and later scored on a double by Bray. A single up the middle by Sam Holman drove in Bray, giving the Pioneers a 3-1 lead.

Willamette answered with Bloom's home run in the bottom of the inning to move in front, 4-3. Kelley singled and Reid walked with one out. L&C starting pitcher Will King added a strikeout, but Bloom followed with a line drive over the right field fence.

Michael Ball hit a home run in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game for L&C. It was his third solo homer of the three-game series.

The Bearcats tallied a run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Derek Collins (Fr., 1B, Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS/Fullerton College) to regain the lead, but Tucker Laurence singled and later scored for L&C in the top of the sixth to tie the score, 5-5.

WU plated two runs with two outs in the seventh inning. T.C. Lee (Jr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) walked and moved to third on a single down the right field line by Kelley. Lee later scored when L&C relief pitcher Roland Greene was called for a balk. Kelley eventually scored on a pinch-hit single by Michael Oliver (So., 1B, Seattle, WA/West Seattle HS).

The Pioneers scored once in the top of the eighth to get within 7-6, but the Bearcats tallied four runs in their next at bat to secure the win.

Rowan's solo homer was achieved with one out. Another out and two walks later, Kelley drove in two runs with a double to right center. Tyson Giza (Fr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS), who entered the game and walked as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, drove in Kelley with a triple in the eighth.

Reliever Blake Paisley (So., RHP, Saratoga, CA/Saratoga HS) was the winning pitcher for WU, as he evened his record at 1-1. Paisley struck out two batters in 1 2/3 innings. Greene took the loss for Lewis & Clark.

Willamette will play a non-conference game against cross-town rival Corban College on Tuesday, March 9. Game time at John Lewis Field is set for 2 p.m. (PST).

The Bearcats will then play a three-game Northwest Conference series at Linfield College next weekend. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, March 13, in McMinnville, Ore., starting at 11 a.m. (PST). The series will end on Sunday, March 14 with a single game at 12 p.m. (PDT).

Willamette University 11
Lewis & Clark College 7
Doug Bloom hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning and finished the game 2 for 4 at the plate.

Doug Bloom hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning and finished the game 2 for 4 at the plate.