PORTLAND, Ore. – On a rain-soaked Senior Day Sunday afternoon, the Lewis & Clark faithful honored a quintet of seniors as Connor Eggleston, Max Gordon, Zach Merzlak, Sean Shepherd, and Chandler Vieira played their last home game at the Huston Sports Complex.
Willamette broke open a 2-2 game after two innings with a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings, then six more in the fifth to win its seventh straight game, defeating the Pioneers, 12-4 in six innings.
The Bearcats (23-14, 15-9 NWC) also remain unbeaten in the month of April (6-0). Willamette righthander Brandon Nelson won his sixth game of the year, giving up eight hits and allowing two runs. He also had five strikeouts.
Lewis & Clark righthander Andrew Yarak pitched 3.1 innings, allowed eight hits with six earned runs, and striking out four. Yarak threw two strikeouts in each of the first two innings, the eighth time this season with four or more strikeouts in a game. Yarak dropped to 2-7 on the year.
Willamette took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning behind a two-run home run from Connor Bailey, the Pioneers evened the score at two with a pair of their own in the second. After Eggleston doubled to left (his second on the year), Kevin Jacobs followed with a single to left. Merzlak connected with his first hit of the season with a double off the right center fence, scoring Eggleston. It was also Merzlak's first hit in four at-bats and first RBI on the season.
Jacob Serafini hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Jacobs from third, who advanced a base from the Merzlak double.
With game knotted at two after two innings, the visitors broke the tie as Bailey connected once again with another two-run shot, his conference leading 13th round-tripper of the season.
Willamette added another pair of runs in the fourth, however the home team added further damage as Austin Conniff came on in relief for Yarak. Conniff successfully put a halt to the threat with the bases loaded getting the two outs in the inning with a pair of strikeouts keeping the deficit at 6-2.
The Bearcats tacked on six more runs in the fifth to round their 12 runs on the day. They also had 13 hits.
Lewis & Clark added a pair of runs in the sixth as Eggleston crossed the plate on a bases loaded walk (Mat Donovan walk, RBI) and Jacobs scored on Vieira's RBI fielders choice.
The Pioneers (9-30, 5-19 NWC) were led at the plate by Jacobs, who collected three hits, his second game this season with three hits. It was his seventh multi-hit game of the 2018 campaign. Eggleston had two hits, his fourth multi-hit game of the season, and Max Haddad also pitched an inning of relief, striking out the side (three consecutive strikeouts).