Bearcats Defeat Claremont, Fall to Pomona-Pitzer

Stepan Goes 3 for 4 with a Homer against Sagehens

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- The Willamette University baseball team gained a split of its doubleheader in Claremont, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26. Willamette won the first game, 4-1, over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, before falling to 18th-ranked Pomona-Pitzer (NCBWA/D3baseball.com) in the second game, 7-5. The Bearcats ended the day with a 4-3 overall record.

Both Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer are located in Claremont.

In the win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, WU starting pitcher Brandon Simon (So., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills HS) threw eight innings. He struck out six batters and allowed seven hits. Parker Johnson (So., RHP, Carlsbad, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) pitched the ninth inning to earn his first save of the year.

Three Bearcats led the offense against the Stags. T.C. Lee (Sr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) and Tommy Kawamura (Fr., 2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) each went 2 for 3. Lee also earned two RBIs and Kawamura scored two runs. Mitchell Rowan (Jr., DH/RF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) was 2 for 4 with a run and one RBI.

Willamette held a 5-2 lead over Pomona-Pitzer after two-and-a-half innings in the second game. Pomona rallied for the win with two runs in the bottom of the third inning, one in the fourth and two in the fifth. Neither team scored over the final three-and-a-half innings.

The Sagehens tallied the game's first two runs in the bottom of the opening stanza. Timothy Novom blasted a leadoff double to center field. He advanced to third on a balk and scored on a single by Nick Frederick with one out. Frederick later scored on a single by James Campbell.

WU answered with a run in the top of the second. Lee walked and Max Stepan (Sr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) doubled to right field. Tosh Semlacher (Fr., 3B, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) brought home Lee with a ground out to shortstop.

The Bearcats tacked on four runs in the third inning. All four runs were scored with two outs.

Doug Bloom (Sr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) started the rally with a single to left. Bloom stole second and scored on a double by Rowan. Lee followed with a single that scored Rowan from second. Stepan completed the offensive surge with a two-run homer.

Two runs in the bottom of the third allowed Pomona-Pitzer to cut the lead to 5-4. Frederick reached base on an error and scored one out later on a double by Campbell. With two outs, Kyle Pokorny singled to left field to bring Campbell across the plate.

Frederick hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to tie the game. Travis Bowers, who singled earlier in the inning, scored on the play.

In the fifth inning, the Sagehens broke the tie. Campbell received a lead-off walk and went to second on a single by Pokorny with one out. An errant throw on a double-steal allowed Campbell to score and Pokorny to reach third base. Jackson Badger struck out, but a wild pitch with Novom batting sent Pokorny across the plate. Novom struck out to end the threat.

Pomona's pitching staff limited Willamette to just two hits the rest of the way. The Sagehens earned two hits in the eighth inning and had a chance to increase their lead, but WU reliever Jake Jones (So., RHP, Wilsonville, OR/Wilsonville HS) got out of the inning without allowing a run.

Frederick was 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs for the Sagehens. Bowers finished 3 for 4 with a run scored. Pomona-Pitzer earned a total of 14 hits.

Willamette achieved just eight hits. Three of the hits were recorded by Stepan in four at bats. In addition to his two-run homer, he also smacked two doubles. Seven of WU's hits were registered by the top five batters in the order.

Leo Rosetti of Pomona-Pitzer was the winning pitcher. He tossed five innings of scoreless relief, while allowing just three hits. He improved to 1-1 on the season. WU reliever Jamie McCaffrey (So., LHP, Canby, OR/Canby HS/Clackamas CC) fell to 0-1 with the loss. He gave up two runs and three hits in three innings.

Both teams struck out five batters. For Willamette, starter Blake Paisley (Jr., RHP, Saratoga, CA/Saratoga HS) struck out two batters and McCaffrey struck out three. For Pomona-Pitzer, starter Travis Rooke-Ley had three strikeouts, while Rosetti earned the other two.

Willamette is slated to conclude its trip to California with a single game against Occidental College in Los Angeles. Game time has been moved to 12 p.m. (PST), one hour later than originally scheduled.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 4
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 1
Statistics

Pomona-Pitzer 7
Willamette University 5
Statistics

Max Stepan earned three hits and two RBIs in the game against Pomona-Pitzer.

Max Stepan earned three hits and two RBIs in the game against Pomona-Pitzer.