Willamette Offense Explodes in Sweep of Pioneers, 10-3 and 25-16

Bearcats Blast Seven Homers

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

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Willamette University's offense produced 35 runs and 35 hits in a doubleheader sweep of Northwest Conference rival Lewis & Clark College on Saturday, March 24 at the Huston Sports Complex. The Bearcats won the first game, 10-3, and then built a 17-0 lead in the second game before winning 25-16.

Willamette belted 14 extra-base hits on the day, including seven home runs. WU upped its record to 7-14 on the season, 5-6 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark dropped to 2-21 overall, 1-10 in the NWC.

In the first game, the Bearcats were led by Mitch Rowan (Jr., LF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS), Sky Kelley (Jr., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) and Hunter Gallant (Fr., 3B/2B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS).

Rowan went 4 for 5 with a run scored. He also made four putouts in left field, including one spectacular play.

Kelley was 2 for 5 with a 3-run homer, a run scored and four RBIs. Gallant finished 2 for 5 with a solo homer, two runs scored and three RBIs. In addition, Tommy Kawamura (So., SS, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) went 2 for 2 with two walks and two runs, while also driving in one run.

Starting pitcher Brandon Simon (Jr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School) went six innings for Willamette and improved to 3-2. He gave up 11 hits, but allowed only two runs, recorded three strikeouts and did not walk a batter. Jake Jones (Jr., RHP, Wilsonville, OR/Wilsonville HS) pitched the seventh and eighth innings, while Blake Evetts (Fr., RHP, Tigard, OR/Jesuit HS) faced just three batters in the ninth.

L&C scored the initial run in the bottom of the first inning when Michael Ball and Nick Lavin hit back-to-back doubles with two outs. Willamette plated four runs in the second inning to take the lead.

Rowan singled, Tosh Semlacher (So., 3B, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) doubled and Tiras Koon (Fr., 1B/DH, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) walked to load the bases. Gallant followed with a two-RBI double to center field. With one out, Dylan Summers (Sr., C, Lake Oswego, OR/Lakeridge HS) singled home Koon. Gallant scored on a squeeze bunt by Kawamura.

Willamette used a two-out rally to produce three runs in the sixth inning to take charge with a 7-1 lead. All three runs scored on Kelley's homer to right center. Kawamura, who singled to start the rally, and Rolenn Himuro (Fr., CF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School), who walked, also scored on the play.

Andrew Traver of L&C tripled and then scored on a single by Mike Kinkenon in the bottom of the sixth. The Pioneers also tallied one urn in the seventh, but left the bases loaded.

WU answered with two runs in the top of the eighth. Kawamura walked with one out and Himuro added a double to put runners and second and third. Kawamura scored on a single up the middle by Kelley and Himuro scored on a balk.

Gallant completed the scoring with a solo home run for the Bearcats in the ninth inning.

Neither team tallied a run in the first inning of the second game, but Willamette scored at least two runs in every other inning. The Bearcats pounded out 20 hits, including three doubles, a triple and five home runs.

Willamette held a 2-0 advantage after Tyson Giza (Jr., CF/DH, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) belted a two-run homer in the second inning.

WU added five runs in the third, four runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth to extend the lead to 15-0. Key hits in the third inning were a two-RBI single by Rowan and an RBI double by Koon. In the fourth, Rowan crushed a pitch over the right field fence for a two-run homer. Tanner Oates (Fr., 2B, Sparks, NV/Spanish Springs HS) added a two-run single to left field.

In the fifth, Kelley tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rowan. Koon batted next and blasted a solo home run, while Oates added a two-run double to left center later in the inning.

The Bearcats plated two runs in the top of the sixth for a 17-0 lead. WU starter T.J. Whidby (Fr., RHP, Woodinville,, WA/Redmond HS) left the game at that point after allowing just five hits in five innings. He struck out five batters and walked one.

Lewis & Clark scored 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth. Lavin doubled and Traver homered to produce the first two runs. Overall, the Pioneers earned seven hits during the stanza, while Willamette committed two errors.

Willamette countered with three runs in the seventh for a 20-10 margin. Andrew Wilson (Fr., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) hit a solo home run and Michael Oliver (Sr., 1B, Seattle, WA/West Seattle HS) drove in two runs with a double.

The Pioneers tacked on five runs in their next at bat to cut the lead to 20-15. Three hit basemen, an error, a walk and two singles helped score the runs. L&C never got closer, as Willamette achieved two runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth to regain a 10-run lead. Summers smacked a two-run homer in the eighth and added a two-run single in the ninth.

Koon finished the game 4 for 4 with four runs and two RBIs for the Bearcats. Oats went 3 for 5 with two runs and five RBIs. Rowan was 2 for 3 with two runs and five RBIs, as he concluded the doubleheader 6 for 8 on offense. Whidby earned the pitching victory and improved to 1-2 on the season.

For L&C, Lavin went 4 for 6 with three runs and two RBIs. Traver was 3 for 5, scored three times and drove in three runs.

The teams will conclude the series with a single 9-inning game on Sunday (March 25). First pitch is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).


Willamette University 10
Lewis & Clark College 3

Willamette University 25
Lewis & Clark College 16

Mitch Rowan went 6 for 8 during the doubleheader, including a two-run homer.

Mitch Rowan went 6 for 8 during the doubleheader, including a two-run homer.