Willamette Rallies Twice to Sweep Lewis & Clark, 5-4 and 7-2

Bearcats Prevail in First Game with 4 Runs in 9th Inning; Koon Hits Winning Sacrifice Fly

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

WILSONVILLE, ORE. -- The Willamette University Bearcats scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to erase a 4-1 deficit and defeat Lewis & Clark College, 5-4, in the first game of a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Wilsonville High School Field. In the second game, Willamette rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the sixth inning to claim a 7-2 victory and a sweep of the doubleheader.

The Bearcats advanced their record to 4-2 on the season, while the Pioneers fell to 0-2.

In the opener, Lewis & Clark scored three runs in the fifth inning for a 4-0 lead. Willamette plated one run in the seventh to cut the margin to three and completed the rally with four runs in its final at bat. Tiras Koon (Jr., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Shea Harrison (So., UT., El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) with the winning run.

The Bearcats trailed 2-0 after four innings in the second game. WU tallied one run in the fifth and four runs in sixth for a 5-2 lead, and added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh.

Bearcats Win First Game with Big Ninth-Inning Rally

Starting pitchers Peter Hoffman (Jr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS) of Willamette and Ryan Strombom of L&C controlled the first four innings in the opener. The only run was scored in the top of the second when L&C's Michael Kinkenon was hit by a pitch, advanced two bases on an error and scored on a fielder's choice.

Through four innings Strombom owned a one-hitter and Hoffman held a two-hitter, but in the fifth, the Pioneers struck for three runs on four hits.

Tommy Massari opened the inning with an infield single. A sacrifice bunt by Jacob Burton and a single by Ben Beck enabled Massari to score. Bradley Lezack also singled, and then went to second as WU attempted to throw out Beck at third. Eric Hyun brought in Beck with a sacrifice fly, while Lezack scored when Kinkenon double to left center.

Hoffman, who pitched seven innings, and reliever Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) held the Pioneers scoreless the rest of the game.

The Bearcats scored their first run in the bottom of the seventh. Andrew Wilson (Jr., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) pinch hit and reached base on an error by the shortstop. Two outs later, he moved to second on a single by Bryan Afzali (Jr., OF, Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS) and went to third when Harrison was hit by a pitch.

L&C reliever John Trupin walked Tommy Kawamura (Sr., SS/2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) to force in Wilson. Willamette left the bases loaded when Kawamura was thrown out at second on an infield grounder.

In the bottom of the ninth, Blake Lepire (So., UT, Vista, CA/Santa Ana College) started WU's game-winning rally with a single to right center.

Ty Wyatt (Fr., DH/IF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) singled to center and gave way to pinch-runner Austin Hagarty (So., IF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS). Afzali smacked a double to drive in Lepire, and Harrison added a single to bring home Hagarty, as WU pulled within 4-3.

Alex Heimbrodt replaced Trupin on the mound, but Willamette kept the rally going. Kawamura singled, allowing Afzali to score and sending Harrison to third. Kawamura stole second base.

With one out, Hunter Gallant (Jr., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) was intentionally walked to load the bases. Koon followed with his game-winning sacrifice fly, allowing Harrison to cross the plate.

Afzali was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI for WU. Kawamura went 1 for 3 with two walks and two RBIs. Kinkenon was 2 for 3 and Lezack was 2 of 4 for L&C. Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) went to 2-0 with the win. Trupin suffered the loss for the Pioneers.

Four-Run Sixth Inning Keys 7-2 Win in Second Game

Lewis and Clark scored once in each of the first two innings for a 2-0 lead in the second game. Beck singled in the first, stole second base and scored on a single by Lezack. In the second inning, Andrew Traver belted a lead-off triple and scored when the next batter, Nick Lockwood, grounded out.

WU starting pitcher Tyler Olson (Jr., IF, Yuba City, CA/Yuba City HS) held L&C scoreless in the third inning. Three relievers limited the Pioneers to just three hits over the final six innings, allowing the Bearcats to rally.

Gordie Clary (So., 1B, Vacaville, CA/Vacaville HS) singled to right field with two outs in the bottom of the fifth for Willamette and went to second on an error by the pitcher. Wilson doubled to left center to plate Clary and cut L&C's lead to 2-1.

The Bearcats pushed across four runs in the sixth inning on three hits and two errors. Rolenn Himuro (Jr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) got the rally underway with one out when he reached first base on an infield error and went to second on a wild pitch. Singles by Gallant and Koon advanced Himuro the final two bases to tie the score, 2-2.

Gallant scored the go-ahead run on a single by Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS). An error on an attempted fielder's choice loaded the bases before Clary connected on a sacrifice fly to score Breier.

WU increased its lead to 7-2 in the seventh. Devin Bales (Jr. UT, Graham, WA/Graham-Kapowsin HS/Grays Harbor College) walked and stole second base. With one out, Himuro hit a bunt single, sending Bales to third. Gallant added an RBI single, and Himuro scored with two outs on a base hit by Breier.

Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) picked up his second win (2-0) by throwing three scoreless inning at the end of the game for the Bearcats. Also contributing in relief were Albert Garcia (So., LHP, Broomfield, CO/Broomfield HS) and Evan Giddings (So., RHP, El Cerrito, CA/St. Marys HS), who each tossed one hitless inning. Landecker dropped to 0-1 for L&C.

Gallant and Breier each went 2 for 3 with one run scored for WU. Breier drove in two runs, while Gallant earned one RBI. Himuro scored twice. Beck of L&C finished 2 for 4 with one run.

Up Next for Willamette

The Bearcats are scheduled to play four games in the Northwest Conference/Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament next weekend.

Willamette will take on St. Martin's University (Wash). on Friday, Feb. 21 in McMinnville, Ore. , at 2 p.m. (PST). On Saturday, Feb. 22, the Bearcats will face Corban University at 11 a.m. and Concordia University (Ore.) at 5 p.m., with both games in Portland, Ore. On Sunday, Feb. 23, WU will battle Oregon Institute of Technology in McMinnville at 11 a.m.


Willamette University 5
Lewis & Clark College 4

Willamette University 7
Lewis & Clark College 2

Tiras Koon hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth to drive in Shea Harrison with the winning run in the first game.

Tiras Koon hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth to drive in Shea Harrison with the winning run in the first game.