Baumgartner Wins #1 Singles to Send Willamette Past Pacific, 5-4

Bearcats Improve to 8-1 in the Northwest Conference

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Michael Baumgartner (So., Albany, OR/West Albany HS) of Willamette University defeated Troy Zuroske of Pacific University in two tie-breakers, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3), to send the Bearcats to a 5-4 victory over Pacific University on Friday, April 1. Most of the competition was played at the WU Tennis Courts on the Willamette campus, but darkness forced Baumgartner and Zuroske to finish the final match at the Courthouse Tennis Club.

The Bearcats improved to 9-5 on the season, 8-1 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific dropped to 5-7 overall, 4-4 in the NWC.

Willamette trailed 2-1 after the doubles matches, but won the top four singles positions to rally for the win. The overall match was tied 4-4 with only the #1 singles match still underway.

Baumgartner triumphed in the first set while the match was still outdoors by taking a 9-7 win in a tie-breaker. Zuroske held a 6-5 lead in the second set when play was suspended at the WU Tennis Courts.

When the action resumed at the Courthouse Tennis Club, Baumgartner held service at love by winning four consecutive points to tie the set, 6-6. He then rallied in the tie-breaker after Zuroske took a 3-2 lead. Baumgartner won five consecutive points to win the tie-breaker, 7-3.

Baumgartner and Matthew Houser (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Evergreen HS) played well at #1 doubles as they defeated Zuroske and Spencer Hing, 8-4. The pair from WU led 4-3 before pulling away for the win.

Pacific held the early edge with wins at #2 and #3 doubles. Michael Okada and Scott Kawamura of Pacific downed Joshua Wong (So., Hilo, HI/Hilo HS) and Cody Ferguson (Jr., North Bend, OR/North Bend HS/Western Oregon Univ.) at #2 doubles, 8-5. Wong and Ferguson fell behind 6-1, but pulled within 6-4, before Okada and Kawamura secured the victory.

At #3 doubles, Alen Suklje and Patrick Kinghorn dueled with Will Cooper (Fr., Gresham, OR/Centennial HS) and Garrett Vincent (Fr., Seattle, WA/Seattle Prep/Bellevue CC) before claiming an 8-6 win for the Boxers.

Wong swept through #2 singles for Willamette with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Hing. Ferguson defeated Okada, 6-3, 6-1, at #3 singles, and Houser outlasted Kawamura in two close sets at #4 singles, 7-5, 6-3. Those three victories, plus Baumgartner's win at #1 singles, allowed the Bearcats to come back for the 5-4 win.

Pacific won #5 and #6 singles. Suklje took the #5 match against Cooper, 6-3, 6-1. At #6 singles, Derek Cooley lost the first set before rallying past Vincent, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0.

Willamette will play again on Saturday, April 2, when the Bearcats host the University of Puget Sound. Match time has been moved to 2:30 p.m. (PDT) regardless of whether the teams play at the WU Tennis Courts or are forced by the weather to move indoors at the Courthouse Tennis Club.

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 5
Pacific University 4
Michael Baumgartner edged out Troy Zuroske, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3) to give WU the overall win.

Michael Baumgartner edged out Troy Zuroske, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3) to give WU the overall win.