By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Connor Bailey (Jr., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS), Troy Conway (Sr., 2B, Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS), and Joseph Faudskar (So., OF, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) each smacked a triple to lead Willamette University in an 8-2 victory against Hendrix College (Ark.) on Sunday, Feb. 11 at AirHogs Stadium. Starting pitcher Benjamin Whitten (So., RHP, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) of Willamette threw five innings for the win, as the Bearcats improved to 4-4 on the season. Hendrix slipped to 0-3.
The Bearcats pounced on the Warriors early in the game by scoring three times in the bottom of the first inning and plating two runs in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
In the first stanza, Faudskar walked and stole second. He went to third on an infield single toward second by Perry Van Eckhardt (Sr., CF, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS). Van Eckhardt was caught attempting to steal second base, but Faudskar soon scored on a wild pitch. Brendan Natuzzi (Jr., UT, Napa, CA/Justin-Siena HS) walked, and then Bailey powered a triple into center field. Faudskar and Natuzzi scored on the play. Bailey added the third run a bit later on a wild pitch.
Kyle Underwood (Fr., DH/C, Highland, CA/Citrus Valley HS) opened the second inning with a single through the right side. Underwood crossed the plate when Conway tripled to right center. One out later, Van Eckhardt drove in Conway with a single to left. With two outs, Van Eckhardt stole second and Bailey walked, but the Bearcats left both runners on base.
The Warriors chipped into the Bearcats' advantage with single runs in the fourth and fifth stanzas.
Tanner Cooper walked with one out in the fourth. He went to second on a single down the left field line by Matthew Lillard, and scored with two outs on a single by Jake Wiegand. Faudskar belted a leadoff triple for WU in the bottom of the inning, but was unable to score, as Hendrix recorded three putouts in a row. In the fifth, Sean Dehne hit a leadoff single for the Warrriors and eventually scored on a two-out single by Drew Judson.
Willamette produced a run in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-2 lead. Eric Del Prado (Sr., 1B, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) walked to start the inning. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Janitz (Jr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS). Del Prado went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk.
The Bearcats tacked on two runs in the seventh inning, which began with Bailey receiving a walk. One out later, Bailey stole second base, and then scored when Janitz hit a double down the right field line. Jack Brett (Sr., C, Aurora, CO/Regis Jesuit HS) followed with a fly out to center field that allowed Janitz to run to third. A throwing error by the shortstop on the cut-off play brought Janitz across the plate.
"Our guys showed some toughness today," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said. "The temperature at the first pitch was 29 degrees, yet our energy and focus throughout the game never wavered. We took advantage of our offensive opportunities, and Ben, Jason and Harbour pitched very well."
Whitten allowed two runs and two hits during his five innings on the mound. He evened his record at 1-1. Whitten had no strikeouts and one walk. Jason Snare (Fr., LHP, Seattle, WA/Bainbridge Island HS) tossed the next three innings and registered three strikeouts and a walk, while holding the Warriors to three hits and no runs. Harbour Harrison (Jr., UT, El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS) pitched the ninth inning and struck out one batter.
Starter Evan Ingram of Hendrix fell to 0-1 with the loss. He gave up five hits, four walks and five runs in 1 2/3 innings. The Warriors used a total of six pitchers.
Willamette outhit Hendrix 9-8. Van Eckhardt was 2 for 5 at the plate with one RBI. Sean Little (Fr., INF, Corvallis, OR/Crescent Valley HS), who pinch-hit for Conway in the sixth inning and went to the plate twice overall, was 2 for 2.
Bailey went 1 of 2 with a triple, two runs, two walks and one RBI. Janitz also walked twice, while going 1 for 1 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Conway was 1 for 2 with a triple, a run and an RBI. Faudskar finished 1 of 4 with a triple, a run scored and one walk.
Wiegand led Hendrix by going 3 for 4 at the plate. He hit a double in the sixth inning for the Warriors' only extra-base hit. Dehne went 2 of 4 with a run scored.