Collins Belts Two Homers as Bearcats Defeat Boxers, 17-8

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University pounded out 18 hits, including two home runs by Derek Collins (Fr., 1B, Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS/Fullerton College) and one home run by T.C. Lee (Jr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS), as the Bearcats rolled past Pacific University, 17-8, at John Lewis Field on Tuesday, April 6. Willamette took advantage of seven extra-base hits and nine walks to improve to 9-15 overall, 6-9 in the Northwest Conference. The Boxers fell to 7-20 overall, 5-10 in the NWC.

The Bearcats took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Tyson Giza (Fr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) walked and moved to second on a ground out. Mitchell Rowan (Jr., DH/RF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) drove in Giza with a base hit to center field. Back-to-back singles by Collins and Max Stepan (Jr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) sent Rowan across the plate.

WU might have had a bigger inning, but third baseman Nate Rasmussen caught a line drive by Sky Kelley (Fr., RF, Canby, OR/Jesuit HS) and doubled up Stepan at first to end the threat.

Pacific moved in front with five runs in the top of the second. Jeramy Probert singled between third and short to start the inning. Two infield hits loaded the bases, before Scott Rowland hit the ball only a few feet in front of the plate. Rowland was thrown out at first, but Probert scored from third. Brandon Kon drove in the next two runs with a double down the left field line. Two errors later in the inning allowed Kon to score the fifth run.

Willamette tallied six runs in the bottom of the inning to surge in front, 8-6. Two walks by starting pitcher Dan Wolfe and another by reliever Rylan Tomita, put Bearcats on all three bases with one out.

Bloom walked to bring in the first run and Collins walked one out later to force home another run. Stepan singled to center, driving in Giza and Bloom for a 6-5 lead. Kelley followed with an infield hit to third. Rasmussen threw wide of first on the play, allowing Collins and Stepan to score.

Collins smacked his first homer of the game in the fourth inning. Rowan, who opened the stanza with a double to center, also scored on the play. Lee added a solo homer later in the inning, as WU increased its lead to 11-5.

Singles by Kaeo Lau Hee and Brett Bousquet set up a three-run homer by Probert in the fifth inning. The Boxers pulled within 11-8, but were held scoreless the rest of the game.

Even so, Pacific threatened to catch up with the Bearcats in the top of the seventh. Lau Hee doubled to start the inning and Probert walked with one out. Ramsussen flied out to center field, but Jeff Bethke walked to load the bases. Rowland grounded out to shortstop, as the Boxers left the bases loaded.

WU cemented the win with six runs in the bottom of the seventh -- all with two outs.

Rowan started the two-out surge with a walk and Collins followed with a home run to right center. Later in the inning, Lee connected for an RBI single and Michael Oliver (So., 3B, Seattle, WA/West Seattle HS) provided a two-run triple down the right field line.

Chris Torgerson (Jr., RHP, Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS), who started at pitcher for the Bearcats, tossed six innings and improved to 4-2 on the season.

Three other pitchers -- Cameron DeLasantos (Fr., LHP, Salinas, CA/Palma HS), Parker Johnson (Fr., RHP, Carlsbad , CA/La Costa Canyon HS) and Andrew Wyman (Jr., RHP, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) combined to close out the game for Willamette by allowing no runs and one hit in the final three innings.

Tomita (0-1), the second of six pitchers for Pacific, took the loss.

Collins finished 3 for 4 with five RBIs and three runs scored for the Bearcats. Rowan went 3 for 4 and scored three runs, while Oliver was 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs. Lee finished 3 for 3 with a homer and a double, plus three runs and two RBIs. Stepan went 2 for 4, scored twice and brought in three runs.

Lau Hee was 3 for 5 for Pacific. Probert earned two hits in four at bats, while scoring twice and driving in three runs.

Willamette will host Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) in a three-game non-conference series on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 12 p.m. (PDT) and will complete the series with one game on Sunday at 12 p.m.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 17
Pacific University 8
T.C. Lee was 3 for 3 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs. He also walked twice.

T.C. Lee was 3 for 3 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs. He also walked twice.