Koon Belts 3-Run Homer in 7-3 Win, as Bearcats Split Twinbill with #1 Linfield

Wildcats are Victorious in Second Game, 5-2

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Tiras Koon (Jr., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) smacked a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie, and Willamette University went on to defeat #1-ranked Linfield College, 7-3, in the first game of a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Saturday, March 8. The Wildcats won the second game, 5-2.

Willamette ended the weekend with a 7-8 overall record, including 1-4 in the NWC. Linfield's record went to 12-3 overall, 5-1 in the NWC. The Wildcats are ranked #1 in the D3baseball.com Top 25.

Koon's three-run shot gave the Bearcats a 4-1 lead. Linfield cut the margin to 4-3 with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Willamette countered with three runs in the top of the ninth.

Ty Wyatt (Fr., INF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) doubled in the fourth inning for Willamette and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Wilson (Jr., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS). Linfield scored in the seventh inning when Finn McMichael single, stole second base and eventually reached home on back-to-back sacrifice bunts.

In the top of the eighth, Brandon Chinn (Sr., 1B/LF) hit a bunt single. Tosh Semlacher (Sr., OF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) pinch-ran and advanced to second one out later when Wyatt singled. After an infield pop-up, Koon sent the fourth pitch he faced out of the ballpark.

Clayton Truex and Kramer Lindell scored for the Wildcats in the bottom of the inning, but the Bearcats responded with three runs in the ninth.

Rolenn Himuro (Jr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) singled to start the inning and Devin Bales (Jr., 3B/OF, Graham, WA/Graham-Kapowsin HS/Grays Harbor College) followed with a sacrifice bunt.

The Bearcats received infield hits from Tommy Kawamura (Sr., 2B/SS, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) and Hunter Gallant (Jr., SS/3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) to load the bases. Himuro scored on a two-out walk issued to Wyatt, and the final two runs scored on a single by Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS).

Peter Hoffman (Jr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS), who started for the Bearcats, pitched the first seven innings and improved to 2-2. He allowed just one run and six singles, while striking out six batters and walking three.

Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS) tossed the final two innings for WU to earn his second save of the year. The game ended when he forced Jo Carroll to fly out to center field with two outs and runners at first and second in the bottom of the ninth.

Linfield relief pitcher Joseph Stevick fell to 0-1 after allowing six runs in two innings. Wildcat starter Zach Brandon gave up six hits and one run in seven innings.

Breier was 3 for 5 with two RBIs for Willamette in the opener. Chinn went 2 for 2, and Koon was 2 for 3 with a run and three RBIs. Wyatt was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. WU outhit Linfield, 13-11.

Truex was 3 for 5 and scored one run for the Wildcats. Lindell finished 2 for 4 and also scored a run.

In the second game, Linfield scored four runs in the second and added one run in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. The second inning for the Wildcats included six hits and an error. Chance Laboda, Kekoa Kaulukukui and Corey VanDomelen each provided an RBI.

Carroll walked and later scored for the Wildcats in the fourth inning. He finished the game 3 for 3 with two runs.

Willamette scored twice in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 5-2, but neither team scored the rest of the game. Kawamura, who reached base on an error, and Himuro, who earned a base hit, both scored on a single by Gallant.

Aaron Thomassen threw the first eight innings for Linfield. He allowed both runs -- one was earned -- and gave up just four hits. He struck out six batters and did not have a walk. He upped his record to 3-1.

Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook CA/Fallbrook HS) started and pitched six innings for Willamette. He dropped to 2-3 with the loss. Only two of Linfield's five runs were earned.

The Bearcats will host George Fox University in a Northwest Conference series on Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March 16. The teams are slated to play two games on Saturday starting at 12 p.m. (PDT), with the third game set for Sunday at 12 p.m.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 7
Linfield College 3
Statistics

Linfield College 5
Willamette University 2
Statistics

Tyras Koon smacked a 3-run homer in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie in Willamette's 7-3 win.

Tyras Koon smacked a 3-run homer in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie in Willamette's 7-3 win.