April 21, 2012

Whitworth Wins First Two at Willamette

SALEM, Ore. – Dan Scheibe threw a two-hitter in the opener of a three-game Northwest Conference baseball series to lead visiting Whitworth to an 8-1 win over Willamette on Saturday at John Lewis Field.  The Pirates survived a late Bearcat rally to win the nightcap 7-6 in ten innings.

With the doubleheader sweep Whitworth improved to 22-13-1 overall and 15-5 in the NWC, keeping within a game of first-place Pacific (16-4) in the NWC standings.  Willamette dropped to 11-20, 7-12.

The teams complete the series with a single game at noon on Sunday.

Game 1 – Whitworth 8, Willamette 1
Sheibe was dominant for the third weekend in a row, striking out 13 Bearcats and limiting Willamette to a solo home run in the second inning.

Kevin Valerio's squeeze bunt in the second inning got the Pirates on the board, bringing in Erik Nikssarian from third base.  Nick Motsinger's RBI single later in the inning scored Joshua Davis.

Sky Kelley's solo home run in the bottom of the second was the only run of the game for Willamette.  It was Kelly's eighth of the year.

JR Jarrell's RBI single in the third gave Whitworth a 3-1 lead.  Tyler Pfeffer then drilled his league-leading 11th home run of the season in the fifth, a two-run shot, for a 5-1 Pirate advantage.

Whitworth added three more in the seventh.  Paul Miller doubled in the first run and scored on Nikssarian's RBI single up the middle.  Valerio then doubled home Nikssarian for the final run.

Scheibe did not allow a hit after the second inning.  He improved his record to 4-2 by tossing his third complete game in a row.

Gerhard Muelheims went 3-4 at the plate and scored twice for the Pirates.  Motsinger, Pfeffer, Landon Scott and JR Jarrell all had a pair of hits.

Brandon Simon (3-5) started on the mound for Willamette, giving up five runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings.

Game 2 – Whitworth 7, Willamette 6 (10 innings)
After allowing the Bearcats to rally for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Pirates scored a pair in the tenth then held on for a dramatic victory when Nick Scourey struck out Tyson Giza with the tying and winning runs on second and third base.

The first seven innings consisted of a pitchers' duel between starters Carson Blumenthal for Whitworth and T.J. Whidby for Willamette.  Blumenthal allowed two runs on six hits in 6.2 innings, while Whidby gave up two runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings.  Neither factored into the final decision.

Joshua Davis' two-run single in the top of the sixth gave Whitworth a 2-1 lead.  But Willamette tied the game in the seventh when Adam Reid scored on Tommy Kawamura's squeeze bunt.

The Pirates appeared to take control of the game with three runs in the eighth.  Nikssarian singled in Pfeffer with the go-ahead run.  Then the Willamette bullpen loaded the bases before Valerio and Motsinger were hit by pitches in back to back at-bats.

Whitworth had a chance to nail down the win in the ninth with league-leading closer Jason Renner on the mound.  But Kawamura doubled in two runs before an out was recorded.  A ground out moved Kawamura to third and he scored on Mitchel Rowan's long foul out down the left field line.  The Bearcats kept the pressure on after a hit by pitch and single.  When a throw from third base got away at first base, Rolenn Himuro attempted to score from second, but was thrown out to preserve the tie.

Davis and Valerio led off the tenth with singles.  After a strikeout, Muelheims singled home Davis and Pfeffer singled in pinch-runner Ryan Beecroft.

Two walks had the tying runs on base with two outs in the bottom of the tenth.  Kawamura doubled in a run, but the potential tying run stayed at third base.  Scourey, who had entered the game in the ninth inning, got Giza looking to end the game.

Muelheims and Pfeffer had three hits each, while Davis went 2-2 with two RBIs for the Pirates.  

Kawamura finished 2-5 with four RBIs for Willamette.

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