Willamette Travels to Puget Sound for Key NWC Three-Game Series

Bearcats Look to Secure Second Place in Final Standings

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Bearcats will look to secure second place in the final Northwest Conference standings as they take on University of Puget Sound in a three-game series this weekend in Tacoma, Wash. The Bearcats and Loggers will play one game on Saturday, April 26 at 3 p.m. (PDT), followed by two games on Sunday, April 27, starting at 12 p.m.

Puget Sound will not be providing any multimedia coverage during the series.

Willamette, 22-14 overall, is in second place in the NWC with a 14-7 record. The Bearcats trail only Linfield College, which is 29-4 on the season and has clinched the NWC title with a 19-2 record.

George Fox University holds third place in the NWC at 15-9. The Bruins have already completed their conference schedule. Pacific Lutheran University is in fourth place at 13-8, and Puget Sound is fifth with an 11-10 record. The Loggers are 13-17 overall.

The Bearcats will clinch second place outright with three wins over Puget Sound, and will secure at least a tie for second with two wins. The Bearcats will finish no lower than a tie for third with one win, but could tie for second based on results in the Pacific Lutheran versus Pacific University series.

Willamette's leader in batting average is Ty Wyatt (Fr., DH/INF, Keizer, OR/McNary HS) at .359. He also leads the Bearcats with 35 RBIs. He is batting .402 in NWC action, with 30 RBIs in 20 games played.

Tiras Koon (Jr., 1B/C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) is hitting .340 and tops the WU offensive chart with 11 doubles and five home runs. He also ranks first on the team with a .585 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage. He has achieved 25 RBIs to trail only Wyatt. Koon has scored 23 runs.

Tosh Semlacher (Sr., CF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) ranks third on the team with a .337 batting average. He has recorded a team-high 28 runs and is tied for the team lead with nine stolen bases.

Also hitting above the .300 mark for the season are Brad Breier (Jr., C, Torrance, CA/South HS) and Hunter Gallant (Jr., 3B/SS, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS). Brier's average is .333 with 156 runs and 20 RBIs. Gallant has hit .325 with 21 runs, 21 RBIs and three homers.

Other offensive leaders include Tommy Kawamura (Sr., SS/2B, Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) and Rolenn Himuro (Jr., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School). Kawamura ranks first for WU with 28 walks and is second with 24 runs scored. Himuro has provided a team-leading 12 sacrifice bunts, plus two sacrifice flies. He also leads the Bearcats with four triples.

In NWC games only, the Bearcats have four of the top six hitters in the conference. Wyatt's .402 leads the NWC, while Semlacher is second at .393. Breier ranks fourth and .381 and Gallant is sixth at .370.

The Bearcats own a .285 team batting average, including .322 in the NWC.

Starting pitchers Peter Hoffman (Jr., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS), Tyler Olson (Jr., RHP, Yuba City, CA/Yuba City HS) and Matt Jepsen (Fr., LHP, Fallbrook, CA/Fallbrook HS) have been strong throughout the season.

Jepsen tops the stats with a 6-3 record and a 2.25 earned run average. He has struck out 40 batters in 72 innings. Hoffman is 4-3 with a 3.28 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 75 innings. Olson has achieved a 3.75 ERA while claiming a 3-1 record. In 50 1/3 innings, he has struck out the opponents 29 times.

Jackson Watt (So., RHP, Rocklin, CA/Whitney HS), who closed for the pitching staff, has recorded a 5-2 record and seven saves. He has accumulated 25 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings.

The top hitter for Puget Sound by batting average is Chris Zerio (So., IF) at .347. Connor Savage (Jr., OF) is hitting .311 with a team-high 28 runs scored. Jeff Walton (Sr., OF/IF) has a .308 batting average to go with 16 RBIs. Nickolas Alarcio (So., OF) is batting .300.

Nathan Backes (So., IF) owns a .294 average and has scored 16 runs. He leads the Loggers with nine doubles and 17 RBIs.

Kian Kurokawa (Fr., RHP) has achieved a 2.82 ERA and six saves for UPS. He has registered 18 strikeouts and allowed 15 walks in 38 1/3 innings.

Three players have started most of the games for the Loggers. Lucas Stone (Sr., RHP/OF) leads the primary starters with a 3.77 ERA. He is 3-4 on the season with 36 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings on the mound.

Steve Wager (Jr., RHP) has a 3.95 ERA and a 2-3 record with a team-high 52 strikeouts. He has thrown 57 innings this season. Collin Maier (Fr., RHP) is 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings.

The three-game series at UPS will complete the Bearcats' 2014 schedule.

Ty Wyatt leads the Bearcats with a .359 batting average and 35 RBIs. He had achieved nine doubles and four homers.

Ty Wyatt leads the Bearcats with a .359 batting average and 35 RBIs. He had achieved nine doubles and four homers.