PORTLAND, Ore. -- Through seven innings, senior pitcher John Trupin kept the Lewis & Clark Pioneers within striking distance, but the Pios could only muster three hits in a 7-0 loss to visiting Willamette on Sunday afternoon.
A late-game grand slam by Eric Del Prado off reliever Blake Howell in the top of the eighth inning added to Willamette's 3-0 lead, as Lewis & Clark dropped all three games of the series against the Bearcats at Huston Field.
Trupin (0-2) allowed only three runs, one of which was earned, on nine hits in his longest outing of the season, seven innings. Lewis & Clark's defense stepped up throughout the game, including keeping the Bearcats without a score despite allowing baserunners to get to third in both of the first two innings.
Through the first seven innings, keeping runs off the board by Willamette was not as much of a problem for the Pioneers as getting runs themselves. Overall, the teams stranded 22 combined runners, including nine by Lewis & Clark.
Much like the Bearcats did in the top of the first, Lewis & Clark had runners on second and third with one out, but Sean Shepherd grounded into a double play to end the inning. Akira Abderrahman, who hit his first collegiate home run in the first game of the series, singled and moved to second in the second inning, but was left stranded after a flyout by Michael Pangelinan and a popout by Christian Macdonald. In the third, Conner Sick reached third before the final out of the inning.
In total, Lewis & Clark had a runner to at least second base in four of the first six innings, but produced no runs and only two hits off Willamette starter Jett Gallagher (1-2), who finished with two strikeouts and three walks to win his first game of the season. Brendan Natuzzi pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his second save.
By allowing the grand slam, Howell's streak of 14 scoreless innings ended. He finished with four earned runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Del Prato had two home runs in the series, as Willamette hit four total. Troy Conway, Connor Bailey and Gordie Clary each had three hits in Sunday's game, while Mason Fessler had two.
Shepherd, Abderrahman and Cameron Paton (pictured right) had hits for Lewis & Clark. For Paton, it was his first collegiate hit. Robert Reaser pitched the ninth inning for the Pios, allowing one hit while striking out two.
Trupin faced 34 batters, allowed nine hits and walked four batters, as the Pios lost their eighth Northwest Conference game in a row.
Prior to Sunday, Lewis & Clark had outhit Willamette 18-16 in the series, but committed more errors, 6-1.
Lewis & Clark plays at Whitworth next weekend, a team the Pios beat 4-2 in a non-counting NWC match-up earlier this month. Before NWC play resumes, the Pioneers are in Arizona at the Tucson Invitational for a game against DePauw on Tuesday and a pair against Williams and Oberlin on Wednesday.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Sunday
George Fox 5, Concordia (Wisc.) 4
Whitworth 5, Puget Sound 2
Pacific Lutheran 5, Whitman 4