Semlacher Smacks Walk-off Homer in 4-3 Win; Bearcats Defeat Whitman Twice

Gallant's Three-Run Double Helps Willamette Prevail 9-5 in First Game

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Tosh Semlacher (Jr., RF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) of Willamette University blasted a walk-off homer to start the bottom of the ninth inning for 4-3 victory in the second game, as the Bearcats grabbed two wins in a doubleheader against Whitman College on Saturday, April 13 at John Lewis Field.

In the first game, Willamette starting pitcher Peter Hoffman (So., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS) took a 9-5 lead into the ninth inning. With two runners on and no outs, Hoffman gave way to reliever Garrett Davis (Jr., RHP, Marysville, WA/Pilchuck HS). Davis faced just three batters, forcing two fly outs and a strikeout, to preserve the four-run lead and register a save.

Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) provided the big hit in the opener when he smacked a bases-clearing double to drive in three runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.

Willamette moved its record to 13-18, 8-9 in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats are tied for third place in the NWC with Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific University. Whitman dropped to 12-18, 7-13 in the NWC.

Whitman began the doubleheader by taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kyle Buckham hit a high chopper off the plate that Hoffman fielded near the first base line, but had no chance for an out. Buckham's unusual infield hit was followed by a sacrifice bunt from Ozzy Braff.

Later, Buckham headed toward third on a stolen base attempt. The throw from catcher Tiras Koon (So., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) sailed into the outfield and Buckham scored an unearned run.

Willamette surged into the lead with six runs in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Semlacher walked. A single by Koon and a walk issued to Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS) loaded the bases. Semlacher scored when Brandon Chinn (Jr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) grounded out.

Andrew Wilson (So., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) hit into an error near the line by third baseman Casey Minnick, allowing Hirsch and Koon to score. More unearned runs scored on a two-run single by Austin Hagarty (Fr., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) and an RBI single by Gallant.

Whitman battled back within 6-5 by scoring once in the fifth and three times in the sixth. Minnick connected for a two-run double to right field to lead the rally in the sixth inning, and later scored on a single by Paul Heywood.

In the eighth, WU had the bases loaded with one out. Hagarty reached on a fielder's choice, as Chinn was thrown out at the plate. Gallant doubled down the right field line, scoring Rolenn Himuro (So., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School), Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and Hagarty.

Hoffman improved to 5-4 with the win. He registered seven strikeouts and gave up two walks. Dakota Matherly, the starter for Whitman, fell to 0-3 with the loss. Willamette outhit the Missionaries, 12-10, in the opener. Five Bearcats each recorded two hits. Minnick was 3 of 4 for Whitman.

Willamette surged out to a 3-0 lead in the second game with a run in the second and two runs in the third.

In the second, Semlacher singled through the left side, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hirsch. Singles by Giza, Hagarty and Gallant with two outs in the third inning sent Giza across the plate. Later, Hagarty scored on an errant throw during a double steal.

Whitman remained scoreless until the sixth inning, when Braff doubled and Aaron Cohen hit an RBI single. The Missionaries cut the lead to 3-2 on a sacrifice fly by Eli Mathieu in the seventh.

With two outs in the eighth, Bearcat starter Parker Johnson (Sr., RHP, Carlsbad, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) gave up hits to Cohen and Cameron Young, and Jimmy Madden was hit by a pitch. Johnson got Kyle Moyes to foul out with the bases loaded. Chinn grabbed the ball near the visiting dugout.

Neither team hit a home run until the ninth inning of the second game.

In the top of the ninth, Minnick belted a homer to left field on the first pitch. One out later, Jonny Chow singled, and then stole second. Buckham popped into a double play, as Chinn caught the ball and doubled off Chow.

Semlacher hit his walk-off homer on the fourth pitch in the bottom of the ninth. He powered the ball out of the park in left field for his third homer of the year.

Johnson went to 2-1 after pitching all nine innings. He had two strikeouts and no walks. Spencer Hobson of Whitman also threw a complete game, earning five strikeouts with one walk. Semlacher finished 3 for 4, while Hagarty was 2 for 4. Cohen, Young and Moyes each went 2 of 4 for the Missionaries.

The teams will conclude the series with one game on Sunday, April 14. Game time at John Lewis Field is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).


Willamette University 9
Whitman College 5

Willamette University 4
Pacific University 3

Tosh Semlacher hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to give WU a 4-3 win in Game 2. He's shown here against Lewis & Clark earlier this season.

Tosh Semlacher hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to give WU a 4-3 win in Game 2. He's shown here against Lewis & Clark earlier this season.