By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman
Sports Information Student Assistant
WILSONVILLE, Ore. - The Lewis & Clark baseball team lost both of its non-conference contests against Willamette on Saturday at Wilsonville High School. The Bearcats won the first game 2-1 before taking the second one 7-5.
The opening game featured a great pitching matchup in which the two starters who combined for 17 innings pitched, 13 strikeouts and only one earned run.
Willamette got Saturday's action started in the top of the second inning. Gordie Clary led off with a single to left, advanced to second on a groundout to short, then was moved up to third on an error to short. In the next at bat, Shea Harrison reached on another fielder's choice, allowing Clary to score the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Pioneers evened the score thanks to two errors by the Bearcats. Bradley Lezak reached on an error by the shortstop Aaron Fong and two batters later, Fong's woes continued. After Tommy Massari popped up into the would-be inning ending fly ball, Fong misplayed the ball, letting it drop and allowing Lezak to come all the way home to tie the game 1-1.
The score remained tied for the next four innings until Fong made up for his two mistakes earlier in the game. The Willamette shortstop hit the game's only extra-base hit, a leadoff double, and was driven in on a single by Himuro, following a sac bunt by Hagarty. That would be all Willamette starter Jackson Watt (2-0) would need as the junior finished his complete game shutout with 108 pitches.
Ryan Strombom (0-2) was the hard luck loser in a game in which he was good for eight innings pitched, collecting four strikeouts and only allowing one earned run on the day.
In the second game of the twin bill, the Pioneers got the scoring off to an early start.
Ben Beck led off the inning with a single to short, but was thrown out at second after Eric Hyun grounded into a fielder's choice. The play was then followed by a single from Lezak and with one out and runners at first and second, Michael Kinkenon reached on a throwing error by Bearcat pitcher Connor Loar, allowing Hyun to score and advancing Lezak to second. Freshman Sean Shepherd collected the game's first RBI as he knocked a two-out base hit up the middle. Connor Eggleston followed Shepherd's RBI single with his first career triple knocking two more men in and forcing the score to 4-0.
Lewis & Clark starter John Trupin was one out away from escaping a jam in the third inning with runners on second and third but instead of ending the inning, the junior walked the next batter to create a bases loaded situation for Willamette's Hunter Gallant. The Willamette third baseman hit a bases clearing triple to left, cutting the Pioneer's lead to one. Trupin tried to regain his composure and finish off the inning but after walking the next two batters, he was lifted for Dylan Camel who got the next batter to pop out to right.
The three-spot did little to dampen the Pioneers' spirits as Massari led off the very next inning with a triple and was driven in by Shepherd on a ground out to second, setting their lead back to 5-3.
Camel set down the next three Bearcats in the top half of the fourth inning but in the fifth, Willamette tacked one more to the board after Conway singled to left, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and was driven in on a ground out to second by Himuro.
Willamette starter Connor Loar was lifted in the fifth for reliever Andrew Koumelis who struck out two of four in the fifth.
The Bearcats evened the score at five in the top of the sixth when Clary, who hit a lead off triple, came home on a base hit by Fessler.
Willamette's momentum paid off as they took control of the game for good in the seventh on a two RBI double by Koon.
Lewis & Clark's bats were shut down the rest of the game by Willamette's bullpen. Andrew Koumelis pitched four innings of shutout ball before handing it over to Lucas Still in the ninth who struck out the last batter of the game.
The Pioneers return to the diamond at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15 against Willamette at Wilsonville High School.