Bearcats Move Sunday Tilt Against Linfield to Friday

Single Game Now Set for 4 p.m. Friday; Saturday Doubleheader to Start at Noon

By Timothy Walsh, Athletics Communications Writer

SALEM, ORE. -- With a major rainstorm set to hit the Willamette Valley this weekend, Willamette University and archrival Linfield College have adjusted the schedule for their Northwest Conference baseball series.

The single game originally scheduled for Sunday, March 9 in McMinnville, Ore., has been moved to Friday, March 7, with first pitch set for 4 p.m. (PST). Saturday's doubleheader will be played as scheduled, starting at noon.

The Bearcats enter the game at 6-6 on the year, 0-2 in NWC play, after suffering a pair of losses to Pacific Lutheran University last weekend.

In the first game of the series, Willamette was unable to capitalize on a strong pitching performance by freshman Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS), who allowed just two runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings of work. The Bearcats left 13 runners on base in the game and lost, 2-1.

PLU's Matt Bishop tossed a no-hitter in the second game, as Willamette fell 10-0.

Jepsen (2-2) has been Willamette's star on the mound this year, with a 1.09 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched. He has recorded 17 strikeouts while allowing just five walks.

Offensively, the Bearcats have relied on small ball to put runs on the board. Hunter Gallant (Jr., INF, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) has been particularly effective at moving around the bases. His six steals rank second in the NWC.

Linfield, the defending NCAA Division III national champions and ranked #1 in the nation by, is 10-2 overall and 3-0 in the NWC after sweeping Pacific University last weekend.

The preseason NWC favorites are undefeated against Division III competition, with their only blemishes coming against NCAA Division II Western Oregon University and NAIA Corban University.

Willamette and Linfield have a long history of close games. On March 10, 2013, the Bearcats upset the Wildcats 6-3 at John Lewis Field with Brandon Chinn (Sr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) providing a key two-run RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was one of only three Linfield losses to NWC competition.

Linfield will provide a live audio webcast and live stats for this weekend's games. No Willamette broadcast will be available.

Hunter Gallant's six stolen bases rank second in the Northwest Conference this year.

Hunter Gallant's six stolen bases rank second in the Northwest Conference this year.