By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Occidental College rallied from a 4-1 deficit by scoring eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on its way to a 9-5 win over Willamette University, on Sunday, Feb. 10 at Anderson Field. The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season, while Willamette's record evened out at 1-1.
Willamette took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Joey Faudskar (Jr., OF/P, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) reached first on an error by the shorstop to start the game. After Faudskar stole second base, Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) singled up the middle, sending Faudskar to third. Connor Bailey (Sr., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) walked to lead the bases.
Justin Scanlon (Jr., INF/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College) was hit by the second pitch he faced. All of the runners were forced to advance, including Faudskar, who crossed the plate. The next batter was Brendan Natuzzi (Sr., 3B, Napa, CA/Justin-Siena HS), who walked on a full-count pitch to allow Janitz to score. A strikeout and a double play ended the threat.
Occidental pulled within 2-1 in the third inning, when Gus Patrick walked, moved to second on a sacrifice fly, and scored an unearned run when Reid Gibbs hit into an error at third with two outs.
The Bearcats answered by scoring a run in the fourth inning and another run in the fifth.
In the fourth, Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS) and Eric Waldichuk (Fr., 1B, San Diego, CA/University City HS) were hit by pitches with one out. After Tyler Vandemark (So., OF, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) walked, Faduskar followed with a single to right, driving in Fischel. The Bearcats left the bases loaded.
In the fifth, Natuzzi reached first and second on an error by the shortstop. He went to third on a throwing error by the pitcher and scored when Cole Pursell (Sr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) hit a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Tigers had their big inning in the bottom of the fifth. Patrick walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Preston Chong reached first on a fielder's choice, as Patrick reached third on an error at shortstop. Walks by Michael Ingram and Gibbs led to the first run crossing the plate. Occidental took advantage of five walks, four hits and a hit batsman to score its eight runs in the inning. Josh Rego provided an RBI double, while Michael Netzel was credited with a two-run single and Antonio Andrade singled to drive in a run.
Benjamin Whitten (Jr., RHP, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) went to the mound for Willamette after the eighth run of the inning. He quickly shut down the Tigers with two swinging strikeouts and a ground out to shortstop. Whitten pitched a total of three scoreless innings, while piling up five strikeouts and allowed only one hit.
Willamette was unable to rally for its 9-4 deficit, but the Bearcats did pick up one more urn in the ninth. With one out, Bailey hit an infield single near the shortstop. One out later, Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) was hit by a pitch, putting runners and first and second. Kyle Underwood (So., C, Highland, CA/Citrus Valley HS) drove in Bailey with a single to right.
The Bearcats ended the game with a total of seven hits. Janitz wa 2 for 5 with a run scored. Five other Bearcats earned on hit apiece. Fischel hit a double in the fifth inning. The Tigers registered six hits. Netzel was 2 for 4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Andrade finished 2 for 5 with a run and one RBI.
WU will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 16 with two non-conference games in Forest Grove, Oregon, against Northwest Conference foes. The Bearcats will take on University of Puget Sound at 11 a.m. (PST) and will battle Pacific University at 2 p.m. Willamette is slated to complete the weekend with a non-conference game at Linfield College on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m.
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
The bottom of the fifth inning was tough, as Occidental scored
eight runs aided by five walks and a hit batsman. Even so, relief
pitcher Benjamin Whitten, who entered the game after all eight runs
were scored, quickly stopped Occidental, as he struck out the first two
batters he faced, and then forced the next batter into a ground out.
Whitten went on to pitch three innings. He allowed no runs and just
one hit, while recording five strikeouts.