Willamette Earns 19 Hits, Surges Past Corban, 17-5

Rowan Claims Three-Fourths of Cycle with Home Run, Single and Double

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University baseball team pounded out 19 hits to surge past Corban University for a 17-5 win at John Lewis Field on Friday, Feb. 24. The Bearcats trailed 3-1 midway through the third inning, but moved in front for good, 5-3, with three runs in the bottom of the fourth stanza.

WU held a 10-3 advantage after six innings and took total control with seven runs in the seventh. Willamette improved to 2-7 on the season. Corban dropped to 7-2 overall.

Junior left fielder Mitch Rowan (Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) of Willamette hit for three-fourths of the cycle. He blasted a solo homer down the left field line for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, added a single off the pitcher's leg in the sixth and smacked an RBI double in the seventh.

Rowan went 3 for 5 with three runs and two RBIs, as he advanced his batting average to .440 for the season.

Also earning three hits each for the Bearcats were Tommy Kawamura (So., SS, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) and Tosh Semlacher (So., 3B, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS). Kawamura finished 3 for 4 with a run scored, while Semlacher went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs.

Hunter Gallant (Fr., 2B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) added a 2-for-5 performance, scored two runs and registered two RBIs. Brandon Chinn (So., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) also went 2 for 5 and achieved two RBIs. Tyson Giza (Jr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) matched Rowan with a team-high three runs scored.

Three Corban players earned two hits apiece. Gregg Romero was 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Tyler Atkinson went 2 for 4, blasted a two-run homer in the seventh inning and earned four RBIs. Marc Gallegos was 2 for 5 and scored once. The Warriors connected for 10 hits overall.

Rowan's home run with two outs in the first inning gave Willamette an early lead, but Corban tallied three runs in the top of the third to move in front. The inning began with Andy Hill receiving a walk, Romero earning an infield hit, and Gallegos providing a single up the middle. After a strikeout, Atkinson drove in Hill and Romero with a single to right. Gallegos scored on a single by Colby Sokol.

Willamette got out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double play. Gallant made a nice stop up the middle on a grounder by Steven Blum, then tossed the ball to second, where Kawamura registered the first out. Kawamura sent the ball to Chinn at first to complete the double play.

The Bearcats cut the lead to 3-2 by scoring once in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Giza was at first base when Kawamura belted a double down the right field line. Giza advanced to third on the play and then scored on a wild pitch.

After Corban failed to score in the top of the fourth, the Bearcats continued to gain momentum.

In the bottom of the inning, WU used three hits to produce three runs. Sky Kelley (Jr., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS), who walked to start the inning, moved to third on Semlacher's hit-and-run single with one out. Kelley scored on a failed pick-off attempt at first, as Semlacher reached second. Gallant contributed a two-out RBI single up the middle and scored when Chinn doubled to left center.

Willamette added two runs in the fifth for a 7-3 advantage. The inning featured four singles, including one by Kelley that went off the base umpire in front of the shortstop. Kawamura, Tiras Koon (Fr., C/DH, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) and Ben Petersen (Jr., C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College) also achieved hits, with Koon and Pertersen claiming RBIs.

Another three runs in the sixth kept WU in charge. Kelly brought home one of the runs with a sacrifice fly, while Semlacher drove in two runs with a single.

Atkinson's two-run homer with Romero at first base in the top of the seventh cut the margin to 10-5, but the Bearcats responded with seven runs in the bottom of the frame.

WU amassed six hits during the lengthy inning, including an RBI double by Rowan and a two-RBI single from Rolenn Himuro (Fr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School).

Three Bearcat pitchers combined for the win. Peter Hoffman (Fr., RHP, Hayden Oaks, ID/Lake City HS) started and went six innings. He allowed three runs and seven hits, while striking out two batters. He moved to 1-0 on the season.

Blake Evetts (Fr., RHP, Tigard, OR/Jesuit HS) tossed the next two innings and struck out three Warriors despite allowing Atkinson's homer. Zach Holcomb (Fr., RHP, Bellevue, WA/Newport HS) pitched the final inning. Corban starter Jake Balbas struck out four batters in four innings, but fell to 1-1 with the loss. The Warriors used six pitchers during the game.

Willamette and Corban are scheduled to complete the series with a doubleheader at John Lewis Field on Saturday, Feb. 25. The doubleheader was originally going to be played at Corban, so the Warriors will bat last. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. (PST).

BOX SCORES
Willamette University 17
Corban University 5
WU shortstop Tommy Kawamura went 3 for 4 at the plate. He earned three putouts and two assists on defense.

WU shortstop Tommy Kawamura went 3 for 4 at the plate. He earned three putouts and two assists on defense.

Mitch Rowan continued his strong hitting with a solo home run, a single and a double against the Warriors.

Mitch Rowan continued his strong hitting with a solo home run, a single and a double against the Warriors.