Bearcats Ride Big Inning to Two Wins

News Release Date:
Saturday, April 4

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- After riding a five-run seventh inning to a 13-5 victory in the opener, Willamette University cruised to a 14-2 triumph in the nightcap for a sweep of its Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader with Whitman College Saturday at Borleske Stadium.

Willamette, which slapped 35 hits around the yard in the two games, improved to 8-7 in NWC and 10-11 overall.

Whitman, which had 21 base knocks of its own, slipped to 2-11 in conference and 3-16 on the season.

Blaine Mercado

Blaine Mercado, Whitman's game one starter, held the big Bearcat bats in check for the first five innings. The Missionaries jumped in front 1-0 in the first inning and were tied 2-2 through three innings.

Willamette eased in front on single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before breaking the game open in the seventh. Bearcat starter Chris Torgerson tossed seven frames for the visitors, scattering seven hits, to get his first mound victory of the season.

T.C. Lee sparked Willamette's offense with three hits, including his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot in the seventh. Freshman Tim Schilf cracked his first collegiate round-tripper in the ninth inning, a three-run homer that capped the Bearcat scoring.

Erik Korsmo

For Whitman, Erik Korsmo reached base four times in five trips to the plate with three hits and a base on balls. He doubled to lead off the Whitman first inning, moved to third on a Brian Kitamura flyball to center, and then scored the game's first run when Jason Sease hit a high chopper to the right of the pitcher's mound. 

Whitman kept its bats alive over the final three innings, scoring three runs on nine hits while leaving six runners on base. Kitamura singled home a run in the seventh inning, as did Matt Morris-Rosenfeld and Jay Richards in the ninth. Kitamura, Richards and Patrick Stauffer had two hits each for Whitman.

In addition to Lee's three hits, Willamette got two hits each from Michael Dearborn, Doug Bloom, Mitchell Rowan and David Tufo.

In game two, the Bearcats capitalized on two Whitman errors to grab a 3-0 lead after two innings. Willamette added to its lead with four runs on four hits and two stolen bases in the fourth inning.

Brian Kitamura

Kelsey Nagata, Willamette's starting pitcher, wriggled off the hook a few times early in the game -- stranding two Whitman runners in both the second and third innings -- and held Whitman scoreless over six innings to notch his first win of the season. David Stott added two innings of hitless relief before Whitman tallied its two runs in the eighth.

Korsmo, who led off the inning with a triple to deep center field, scored on Kitamura's fly to center. After Sease walked, Morris-Rosenfeld and Richards singled to load the bases for Mercado, who lofted a run-scoring fly ball to left.

With four hits in the nightcap, Korsmo finished his day with seven hits in nine official at-bats. 

Jack McGee and Bloom had three hits apiece to pace Willamette's game-two attack. Max Stepan, Rowan and Lee added two hits each for the Bearcats

The two teams complete their four-game weekend series with a pair of seven-inning games on Sunday, starting at noon at Borleske Field.

Game One: Willamette 13, Whitman 5

Game Two: Willamette 14, Whitman 2

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.; (509) 527-5902