Simon Pitches Eight Innings in 9-1 Win over Loggers to Start Doubleheader Sweep

Lee Smacks Team-Leading 12th Homer; Bearcats Rally for 10-6 Victory in Game 2

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Sophomore pitcher Brandon Simon (RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills HS) struck out eight batters and allowed just one run in eight innings of work, and senior left fielder T.C. Lee (Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) went 3 for 5 with a double and a solo homer, as Willamette University defeated the University of Puget Sound, 9-1, to start a doubleheader on Saturday, April 30.

In the second game, Willamette rallied from deficits of 4-0 and 6-4 to defeat the Loggers, 10-6. The Bearcats pulled within 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth, tied the game in the seventh and pulled into the lead with four runs in the eighth.

Willamette improved to 22-16-1 overall, 12-11 in the Northwest Conference, while Puget Sound dropped to 16-17, 14-9 in the NWC. The teams will conclude the series on Sunday with a single game starting at 12 p.m. (PDT).

The Bearcats led 2-0 in the first game before Puget Sound tallied its only run on a solo homer by Matt Cox in the top of the fourth inning. Lee smacked his solo homer for Willamette in the bottom of the fifth inning, increasing the lead to 3-1.

WU held a 4-1 advantage entering the bottom of the seventh, when the Bearcats tacked on four runs to pull away. Three of the runs scored on an unusual play that began with Max Stepan (Sr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) at second and Tosh Semlacher (Fr., 3B, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) at first with no outs.

Brandon Chinn (Fr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) placed a sacrifice bunt just a few feet past the home plate cutout. UPS catcher Craig Driver picked up the ball, but threw wildly to first. Stepan and Semlacher scored, while Chinn advanced to third. As Semlacher scored, the ball was thrown toward home, but wasn't on target and Chinn was able to score.

Simon improved to 7-3 on the season with a 2.31 earned run average. UPS starter Lucas Stone fell to 2-1 with the loss.

Lee led Willamette with his three hits while connecting for three-fourth of the cycle -- missing only the triple. Chinn went 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Tommy Kawamura (Fr., 2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs.

Cox was 4 for 4 during the game for the Loggers. Jeff Walton went 2 for 4 for UPS. Willamette outhit the Loggers, 12-8.

Four runs in the top of the third inning broke a scoreless tie in the second game and gave Puget Sound a 4-0 lead. The Loggers earned four hits in the inning, including a double by Chaz Kramer, an RBI single by Dakota Resnik and a two-run single by Walton. Willamette scored twice in the bottom of the third to pull within 4-2. Both runs scored on a single by Stepan.

After UPS tacked on a run in the top of the fourth, the Bearcats pushed across two runs in the bottom of the inning to get within 5-4. The Loggers added an insurance run on an RBI single by Will Mentor in the fifth.

WU answered quickly in its next at bat, when Stepan singled to start the inning and eventually scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by Chinn. The Bearcats tied the game in the seventh, 6-6, with Sky Kelley (So., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) scoring on a single from Chinn.

The lead moved to Willamette in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Stepan belted a double to right field. The hit cleared the bases, giving the Bearcats a 9-6 advantage. Stepan scored later on a wild pitch.

Three Willamette pitchers combined for the victory. Kyle Kirwan (So., RHP/1B, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) received the win and improved to 1-1 on the season. Jamie McCaffrey (So., LHP, Canby, OR/Canby HS/Clackamas CC) pitched the first 4 2/3 innings, while Ryan Smith (Jr., RHP, Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS/Univ. of Redlands) tossed the next 2 1/3 innings.

McCaffrey, Smith and Kirwan combined on a nine-hitter with a total of nine strikeouts.

Stepan went 3 for 5 with two runs and five RBIs in Game 2 for the Bearcats. Adam Reid (Jr., RF, San Jose, CA/Lynbrook HS) was 3 for 4 and scored twice. Doug Bloom (Sr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) finished 2 for 5 with a run and an RBI. Chinn was 2 for 3 and drove in two runs.

Andrew Grady was 2 for 3 for the Loggers. Paul Webster went 2 for and scored twice, while Chaz Kramer was 1 for 4 with a double.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 9
University of Puget Sound 1
Statistics

Willamette University 10
University of Puget Sound 6
Statistics

Brandon Simon pitched eight innings and struck out eight batters.

Brandon Simon pitched eight innings and struck out eight batters.