Baseball Boxers Rally by Whits in Game 1
News Release Date:
Saturday, April 10
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Pacific University rallied for a 7-4 game-one victory and then completed a Northwest Conference doubleheader sweep of Whitman College with an 11-4 victory in the Saturday afternoon nightcap in Forest Grove, Ore.
Whitman broke open a pitcher's duel in the opener with four runs in the top of the sixth inning, taking a 4-1 lead.
Blaine Mercado, Whitman's starting pitcher, held the Boxers scoreless over the first four innings before yielding a single run in the fifth.
Mercado, who leads the Missionaries in RBI this season, then helped his own cause with a two-run single in the Whitman sixth.
Pacific starter Jeff Bethke and a few Boxer defensive lapses helped set the table for Whitman's uprising. After Mitch Hannoosh was hit by a pitch, the Boxers muffed a pickoff attempt at first and failed to get an out when Patrick Stauffer dropped down a sacrifice bunt.
Jay Richards and Erik Korsmo drew back-to-back walks to force home a run, knotting the game at 1-1, before Mercado slapped a two-run single through the ride side.
Jason Sease then lifted a run-scoring flyball to center field to make it 4-1 Whitman. Joe Rodhouse and Justin Weeks drew two more walks to reload the bases, but Bethke picked Weeks off first base to end the inning.
Pacific reclaimed the lead in short order, moving in front 5-4 with four runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth.
After the Boxers added a run in the seventh, Whitman threatened in the top of the eighth. With one out, Korsmo and Mercado stroked consecutive singles, but Bethke got the next two outs to strand both runners.
Mike Nagamine homered for the Boxers in their half of the eighth, extending the home team's cushion to 7-4.
The Missionaries made things interesting in the ninth, bringing the tying run to the plate. Hannoosh singled with one out and moved to third base when Richards rapped a two-out single to right field. Bethke again met the challenge, recording the final out on a flyball to right to finish his complete-game victory.
In the nightcap, both teams sprayed 14 hits around the ballpark, but the Boxer infield turned inning-ending doubleplays in the first, fourth and six frames to limit the number of runs Whitman put on the scoreboard.
With Pacific leading 4-0, Whitman pushed across its first run in the fourth when Rodhouse walked with the sacks full. Korsmo and Mercado singled and Sease reached on an error to load the bases.
After the Boxers stretched their lead to 8-1, Whitman tallied three runs in the top of the seventh to climb back into the game. Rodhouse and Weeks both singled and scored when Stauffer ripped a double to left field. Richards then singled to center to score Stauffer.
Whitman failed to score another run despite putting five more runners aboard in its last two at-bats.
With out out in the eighth, Mercado singled and advanced to third when Sease singled to center. But Sease was gunned down at second trying to take an extra base on the throw back to the infield.
With two gone in the ninth, Whitman loaded the bases on singles by Stauffer and Richards, followed by an infield fielding error. All three runners were left stranded, however, when Ryne Miyamoto -- Pacific's third pitcher of the game -- got the final out on a flyball to center.
Stauffer and Richards paced Whitman's offense with three hits apiece. Mercado and Eric Tolleson added two hits each.Freshman John Nortz tossed the first five innings for Whitman. Rodhouse, who has thrown limited innings this season after hurting his arm earlier in his Whitman career, scattered three hits and surrendered just one earned run over the final three innings.
Whitman, hampered by a small roster as it makes the transition to a new coaching staff, saw its record fall to 3-14 in the NWC and 3-25 overall. Pacific is 7-10 and 9-20.
The two teams complete their weekend series with a single game at noon Sunday.
- 30 -CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com