Pacific Lutheran Defeats Willamette Twice, 9-6 and 11-4

Freshmen Koon and Gallant Hit First Collegiate Home Runs in Second Game

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Pacific Lutheran University hit four home runs in the first game to bounce back from 3-0 and 6-5 deficits, before pounding out 20 hits in the second game, as the Lutes swept a doubleheader from Willamette University, 9-6 and 11-4, at John Lewis Field on Sunday, March 4. The wins enabled PLU to take the weekend series two games to one after Willamette edged out a 9-8 win on Saturday.

In addition to strong hitting, the Lutes also used a great starting performance from Nathan Eisenhauser in the second game. He pitched 6 1/3 innings and held Willamette to just two hits. He gave up seven walks, but didn't string them together. As a result, his seven strikeouts limited Willamette's offensive success.

The Lutes improved to 7-5 overall, 2-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 3-10 overall, 1-2 in the NWC.

Willamette built a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning in the opener.

The Bearcats started with three consecutive hits, as Tyson Giza (Jr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) doubled to center, Tommy Kawamura (So., SS, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) singled to left center and Mitch Rowan (Jr., LF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) hit an RBI single down the right field line. Rowan stole second base. With two outs, Tosh Semlacher (So., 3B, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) drove in Kawamura and Rowan with a single to right field.

PLU cut the lead to two runs on a solo homer to left center by Jacob Hoffman with two outs in the second inning. The Lutes then moved in front 5-3 with four runs in the fourth inning. Key hits during the inning were a two-run homer by Curtis Wildung, an RBI double by Jaron Iwakami and an RBI single by Corey More. In addition, two PLU batters were hit by pitches.

Willamette pulled within 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth, when Ben Peterson (Jr., C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College) singled with one out, advanced to second on a balk, went to third on a ground out by Hunter Gallant (Fr., 2B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) and scored on a single up the middle by Giza. Kawamura lined out to right field to end the threat.

Sky Kelley (Jr., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) smacked a two-run homer for the Bearcats in the fifth inning to give WU a 6-5 advantage. It was Kelley's team-leading fourth home run of the season. Rowan also scored on the play.

The Lutes tied the game with Hoffman's second solo home run of the afternoon in the sixth inning. PLU surged in front 8-6 when Brock Gates blasted a two-run homer in the seventh inning. An RBI single by Sammy Davis in the top of the eighth provided an insurance run.

Collin Nilson, who allowed just one hit in 2 2/3 innings of middle relief, achieved the win. He went to 1-0 on the season. WU middle reliever Ryan Smith (Sr., RHP, Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS/U. of Redlands) dropped to 0-1 with the loss. Both teams used four pitchers during the game.

Hoffman, Gates, Wildung, Iwakami and Davis each registered two hits for PLU in the opener. Hoffman was 2 for 4 with three runs and two RBIs. Gates went 2 for 4 while scoring twice and driving in two runs.

Four Bearcats also attained two hits in Game #1. They were Rowan (2 for 4), Giza (2 for 5), Kelley (2 for 5) and Semlacher (2 for 5). Rowan scored twice, while Kelley and Semlacher each recorded two RBIs.

Led by Esienhauser's pitching and the hitting of Gates, Corey Moore and Dominick Courcy, the Lutes controlled the second game. PLU scored once in the first inning, as Courcy hit a leadoff single and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Gates. The Lutes added five runs on four hits in the second inning for a 6-0 lead. Moore contributed a two-RBI single, while Gates brought home one run with a double.

The margin reached eight runs when Gates and Ryan Frost crossed the plate on a single by Bo Pearson in the fourth stanza. Willamette tallied its first two runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth on a two run homer by freshman designated hitter Tiras Koon (Honolulu, HI/Iolani School). It was Koon's first collegiate home run.

Pacific Lutheran advanced the lead to 8-2 with a pair of runs in the seventh. Hoffman reached base on an error and eventually scored on a single up the middle by Moore. Courcy drove in Ethan Ottemiller with the second run on a sacrifice fly.

WU tallied its final two runs in the bottom of the inning. Gallant became the second Bearcat freshman to hit his first collegiate homer during the game, as he blasted a solo shot over the center field fence. Kelley added an RBI single.

Courcy was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI. Gates went 3 for 5, scored once and earned two RBIs. Moore added a 3-for-5 performance with a run and three RBIs. Willamette was held to six hits, with six players each achieving one hit.

Eisenhauser improved to 4-1 with the win. WU starter Peter Hoffman (Fr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS) went to 1-1 with the loss.

Willamette will travel to nearby NWC rival Linfield College for a three-game series next weekend. The Bearcats and the Wildcats will start the series with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 10 at 11 a.m. (PST) and will finish the weekend with one game on Sunday, March 11 at 12 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Pacific Lutheran University 9
Willamette University 6
Statistics

Pacific Lutheran University 11
Willamette University 4
Statistics

Sky Kelley belted a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the first game to give Willamette a 6-5 lead.

Sky Kelley belted a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the first game to give Willamette a 6-5 lead.