Willamette Connects for 15 Hits in 14-7 Win over Corban

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Bearcats didn't let the cold and wind -- and eventually rain -- get in the way of their offensive efforts against cross-town rival Corban College on Tuesday, March 9, as they collected 15 hits in a 14-7 win over the Warriors at John Lewis Field. Willamette improved to 5-6 on the season with its third win in a row. Corban dropped to 6-11 overall.

Willamette and Corban will meet a second time this spring on April 13. That game will be played at Corban at 4 p.m. (PDT).

Most of the game was played in the cold with the wind blowing in from the outfield. There was a bit of sunshine in the early innings, but eventually gray clouds took over. It started to rain late in the game.

Even so, both teams put the ball into play on offense. Six of WU's 15 hits went for extra-bases. Corban finished with 12 hits, including four for extra-bases.

Mitchell Rowan (Jr., DH/RF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) led the offensive attack for the Bearcats with two home runs. Tyson Giza (Fr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) added the first home run of his college career. Steven Candeleria and Tyler Lake each blasted a homer for Corban.

Rowan smacked his first home run of the game with two runners on base in the bottom of the first inning. The homer drove in Doug Bloom (Jr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS), who walked to start the inning, and Tim Schilf (So., 3B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School), who reached first base on an error.

Corban tied the game with three runs in the top of the second. Candeleria hit a solo home run to begin the rally. Taylor Wyatt walked and later scored on a double by Lake. Jake Balbas moved Lake to third with a sacrifice bunt. Lake scored on a balk.

WU took the lead for good with two runs in the third inning. Max Stepan (Jr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) hit a lead-off double down the left field line. He advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a double by Derek Collins (Fr., 1B, Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS/Fullerton College).

T.C. Lee (Jr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) hit a sacrifice bunt to advance Collins to third. Sky Kelley (Fr., RF, Canby, OR/Jesuit HS) drove in Collins with a single to left field.

Collins also doubled in the fifth inning. Kelley added another single to move Collins to third. After Kelly stole second base, Giza hit a two-run single up the middle.

Rowan tacked on a solo home run to left field in the sixth inning, as Willamette's lead increased to 8-3. It was Rowan's fourth home run of the season and his third in the last two games.

In the top of the seventh, Corban scored twice to pull within 8-5. Trevor Winsor brought in one run with an infield single and Steven Blum drove in the other run with a single to right field.

Willamette pulled way with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The inning featured three hits -- an infield single by Lee, a bunt single by Galen Duff (Fr., 2B, Spokane, WA/Gonzaga Prep) and a hard-hit single by Bloom that went off the glove of a leaping Winsor at second base. The Warriors also added two errors during the stanza. Only one of the four runs was earned.

Lake hit a two-run homer in top of the eighth for Corban to cut the lead to 12-7. The Bearcats answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Kelley singled with one out and Giza followed with a two-run homer to right center.

WU middle reliever Brandon Simon (Fr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills HS) gave up just one hit and no runs in two innings of work to record the win. He moved to 1-0 on the season. Corban relief pitcher Chris Trammell allowed the go-ahead runs in the third inning and moved to 0-1 with the loss.

Kelley went 3 for 4 for Willamette with three runs and an RBI. Rowan and Giza each finished the game 2 for 4 with two runs and four RBIs. Bloom, Collins and Duff also provided two hits apiece for the Bearcats.

Blum was 3 for 5 with an RBI for the Warriors. Lake went 2 for 4 with two runs and also earned three RBIs.

The weather conditions made defensive play more challenging that usual. Corban committed a total of five errors and Willamette was charged with three errors.

WU will be back in action this weekend with a Northwest Conference series at nearby rival Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore.. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, March 13, starting at 11 a.m. (PST). The series will conclude with one game on Sunday, March 14 at 12 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 14
Corban College 7
Mitchell Rowan blasted two home runs to earn four RBIs in WU's 14-7 win over Corban.

Mitchell Rowan blasted two home runs to earn four RBIs in WU's 14-7 win over Corban.