Torgerson Throws Five-Hitter, as Willamette Defeats PLU, 7-0

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

PARKLAND, WASH. -- Willamette University junior pitcher Chris Torgerson (Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS) held the high-powered Pacific Lutheran University offense to just five hits in a complete-game 7-0 victory over the Lutes on Sunday, March 28 at the PLU Field. Torgerson, now 3-2 on the season, struck out five batters, including two in the ninth inning, while allowing just one walk and one hit batsman.

WU improved to 7-13 overall, 4-8 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific Lutheran, which leads the NWC, dropped to 16-6 overall, 7-2 in the conference. PLU starter Scott Wall suffered his first loss of the season, as he fell to 3-1.

Pacific Lutheran entered the game with a scoring average of 10.2 runs per contest. The Lutes had produced 89 runs in their past five games.

Against Torgerson, however, PLU managed just four singles and one double, as the Lutes were shut out for the first time since a 4-0 loss at the University of Redlands in last year's season-opener.

The Bearcats built a 5-0 lead in the first two innings, starting with three runs in the first. Tyson Giza (Fr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) opened the inning with a single to right field. Giza stole second base and Mitchell Rowan (So., DH/RF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) walked to put runners at first and second.

Derek Collins (Fr., 1B, Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS/Fullerton College) followed with a double to left that brought Giza across the plate.

Max Stepan (Jr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) added a single up the middle to score Rowan. Collins was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Ryan Aratani, but Sky Kelley (Fr., RF, Canby, OR/Jesuit HS) singled to drive in Stepan with the third run.

Torgerson faced just three batters in the bottom of the first, and then the Bearcats added two runs in the top of the second. Mikey Lemon (Jr., LF, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS/Linfield Coll.) singled and stole second base. Galen Duff (Fr., 2B, Spokane, WA/Gonzaga Prep) moved Lemon to third with a sacrifice bunt and Giza provided an RBI double down the right field line.

Doug Bloom (Jr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) hit a bunt single, with Giza moving to third. Rowan followed with a sacrifice fly, as WU's lead extended to 5-0.

Stepan added a solo home run -- his fourth homer of the season -- to lead off the WU half of the fifth inning. The Bearcats tallied their final run in the top of the ninth, when Stepan walked to open the stanza and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, Torgerson was pitching an outstanding game. He stayed ahead in the count throughout the contest. He walked Dan Johansen to start the second inning, but Johansen was caught stealing later in the inning. Torgerson did not allow a hit until the fourth, when Josh Takayoshi hit a two-out single.

PLU's best chance to score came in the fifth, when the Lutes recorded three hits.

First baseman Brock Gates hit the first single with one out and Ethan Ottemiller earned the second hit with two outs. Gates was thrown out at the plate to end the inning when he attempted to score from second on a single by Ben Shively. Kelley recorded the assist on the play while Stepan provided the tag at the plate.

Four Bearcats contributed two hits during the game. Stepan was 2 for 3 with three runs, two walks and two RBIs. Kelley and Rowan also went 2 for 3, while Giza was 2 for 5 with two runs and an RBI. Giza went 6 of 13 (.462). in the three-game series.

Gates led PLU with two hits, including a two-out double in the seventh inning. He ended the series with seven hits in 10 at bats.

The Bearcats have played traditional NWC powers Linfield College, George Fox University and Pacific Lutheran on consecutive weekends -- including two series on the road. Willamette will play a non-conference game at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday, March 31 at 4 p.m. (PDT).

WU returns home to host Pacific University on April 2-3. The teams are slated to play a doubleheader on Friday at 12 p.m. (PDT), followed by a single game on Saturday, also at 12 p.m.

Willamette University 7
Pacific Lutheran University 0
Chris Torgerson struck out five batters and allowed just five hits in the complete-game shutout.

Chris Torgerson struck out five batters and allowed just five hits in the complete-game shutout.