McMinnville, Ore. – Whitworth University was eliminated from the 2017 Northwest Conference baseball tournament after a pair of losses on Saturday at Linfield's Roy Helser Field.
The Pirates fell to Willamette 13-8 in a winner's bracket game, then lost 8-3 to host Linfield in the night's loser-out contest. Whitworth dropped to 23-15 and will conclude its season next weekend with a three-game, non-conference series at Puget Sound.
Tyler Bailey, the current NWC baseball Position Player of the Week, finished the day with four hits – two in each game.
Game 1: Willamette 13, Whitworth 8
The Bearcats used two five-run innings to overturn an early three-run deficit, led by first baseman Eric Del Prado's seven RBIs.
The Pirates took a 4-1 lead in the top of the third inning thanks to JT Phelan's RBI double and Ryan Bird's two-run double later in the frame. But Willamette scored five times in the bottom of the third, capped by Cameron Igarashi's two-run single.
Whitworth tied the game 6-6 in the top of the fourth thanks to RBIs from Garrett Hughes and Matthew Nelson. But Del Prado put the Bearcats back up 8-6 with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth.
Then Willamette broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth with another five-run spot, which included Del Prado's grand slam.
Hughes singled in another run for the Bucs in the sixth and Jordan McGowan hit a solo home run in the eighth to account for the final Whitworth runs.
Nelson finished 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Hughes, Bailey and Bird led the Bucs with two RBIs apiece. Darren Crosby started on the mound for Whitworth and allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits in 2.2 innings. But Brady Simmelink (3-2) took the loss when he gave up five runs on four hits in two innings of relief. Matthew Pulliam finished out the game on the hill for the Pirates.
Del Prado went 3-5 with his career-high seven RBIs for Willamette. Willamette starting pitcher Braden Nelson got no decision after he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 3.1 innings. Relief pitcher Mason Cook (3-0) was the winner with two innings of one-run relief. Jett Gallagher tossed the final three innings to pick up his fifth save.
Game 2: Linfield 8, Whitworth 3
The Wildcats broke away from a 3-3 tie with five runs over their final two at-bats to eliminate the Pirates from the tournament and to get revenge for losing the tournament opener to the Bucs on Friday.
Bailey hit a solo home run in the second and Bird added a solo shot in the fourth to give Whitworth an early 2-0 lead. Linfield rallied to a 3-2 lead with a pair of runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth. Ben Andrews hit a solo home run to get the Wildcats on the board in the fourth.
McGowan's RBI single tied the game in the top of the sixth.
Linfield leadoff hitter Brady Rediger gave the Wildcats the lead for good with a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh. Linfield then broke the game open with three more runs in the bottom of the eighth, including an RBI single by Rediger.
Bailey and Nicholas Nerud had two hits each for the Pirates.
Ryan Kingma started on the mound for Whitworth and allowed three runs on five hits in 5.1 innings. T.J. Orchard, who was Whitworth's winning pitcher on Friday with two innings of shutout relief, suffered the loss on Saturday when he gave up four runs on five hits in two innings. Taylor Hillmick finished up for the bucs.
Cal Neely started for Linfield and got no decision after allowing three runs on six hits in six innings. Matt Strang (4-2) earned the win with two innings of hitless relief.