Simon Pitches Complete Game in 4-1 Win, as Bearcats Split with Linfield

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University pitcher Brandon Simon (Jr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School) threw a complete game seven-hitter to lead the Bearcats to a 4-1 victory over #5-ranked Linfield College in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, March 10 at Roy Helser Field.

In the second game, Linfield scored a run on an infield hit by Nate McClellan with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to edge the Bearcats, 4-3.

Willamette ended the day at 4-11 overall, 2-3 in the Northwest Conference. Linfield moved to 8-4 on the season, 5-3 in the NWC.

Simon struck out five batters and allowed just two walks. He gave up an earned run in the fifth inning, as Linfield took a 1-0 lead, but otherwise kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard.

Willamette surged into a 2-1 advantage by scoring twice in the top of the seventh. Tommy Kawamura (So., SS, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) singled to start the inning and scored when Mitch Rowan (Sr., LF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) pounded a double to center field.

Rowan advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a single down the left field line by Tiras Koon (Fr., 1B/DH, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School).

Simon faced just four batters in the seventh and three in the eighth to keep WU in front. In the ninth, Koon hit a leadoff single for WU and Rolenn Himuro (Fr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) entered the game as a pinch runner.

Tosh Semlacher (So., 3B, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) reached first and second on an error by the pitcher, which allowed Himuro to advance to third.

After Hunter Gallant was intentionally walked, Brandon Chinn (So., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) struck out. Dylan Summers (Sr., C, Lake Oswego, OR/Lakeridge HS) followed with a double to right center, scoring both Himuro and Semlacher. Two of the next three batters were put out, as WU left the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Chamberlain and McClellan hit back-to-back singles. Pinch-hitter Jake Wylie grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with Chamberlain moving to third base. Jordan Harlow flied out to Rowan in left field to end the game.

Simon improved to 2-1 with the win. Linfield starter Ryan Larson also threw a complete game, but fell to 1-1 with the loss. Larson gave up eight hits and three walks, while striking out nine batters.

The first three innings of the second game were scoreless. Willamette took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Giza walked and later scored. The error was made by the shortstop when Sky Kelley (Jr., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) stole second with Giza at third.

Linfield equalized the score with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Kenny Johnson singled to right field, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Danny Urness. Johnson scored on a double by Tim Wilson.

Kawamura singled down the right field line for Willamette and went to second on a passed ball in the sixth. Rowan moved him to third with a groundout and Kelley followed with an RBI single. A double play ended the threat, but WU held a 2-1 lead.

A couple of controversial calls led to Linfield scoring the tying run in the bottom of the sixth. With one out McClellan walked. Kevin Allan singled to center field and McClellan rounded second and headed toward third.

The throw by Tyson Giza (Jr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) from center appeared to reach third base well before McClellan, but the runner was ruled safe. The next batter, Kenny Johnson, hit a grounder. WU tried for the out at the plate, but McClellan was called safe.

Allan scored later in the inning when Wilson hit a fielder's choice to the shortstop. Linfield owned a 3-2 lead heading into the seventh.

Hunter Gallant (Fr., 2B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) walked for WU with one out in the seventh. With two outs, he stole second. Gallant reached home on a single to center by Andrew Wilson.

Zach Boskovich single to left field with one out in the ninth to start Linfield's game-winning rally. Kramer Lindell also singled to left. Boskovich reached third and Lindell was thrown out at second when Chamberlain hit a fielder's choice to second.

McClellan hit a grounder between third and short that went off the glove of a diving Semlacher and then eluded Kawamura at shortstop. McClellan earned a singled on the play, while Boskovich scored the winning run.

Linfield relief pitcher Chris Haddeland struck out five batters in three innings and improved to 1-0 with the win. Blake Evetts (Fr., RHP,, Tigard, OR/Jesuit HS)fell to 1-1 with the loss.

Lindell, Chamberlain and McClellan each earned two hits for Linfield, as the Wildcats outhit the Bearcats, 13-5. Five Willamette players each recorded one hit.

Willamette and Linfield will conclude the series with one game on Sunday, March 11. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).


Willamette University 4
Linfield College 1

Linfield College 4
Willamette University 3

Brandon Simon pitched a complete game and struck out five batters to win the opener.

Brandon Simon pitched a complete game and struck out five batters to win the opener.