By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
TACOMA, Wash. -- Willamette University senior first baseman Eric Del Prado (El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) became Willamette's career leader in putouts during the Bearcats' doubleheader at Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, March 31. In the first game, Del Prado earned eight putouts to reach the 940 mark. Along the way, he broke the previous record of 937 putouts, set by Paul Duman from 1998-01.
Del Prado contributed nine more putouts in the second game, as he increased his newly-acquired record to 949 putouts. PLU won the first game on Saturday, 8-4, while the Bearcats prevailed in the second game, 10-3.
"It's a great honor to get the record," Del Prado said. "This is definitely a team record. It would not be possible without the pitching staff getting a lot of ground balls and the other infielders making good plays."
Also over the weekend, Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick achieved his 200th win in the Bearcats' 8-6 victory over the Lutes on Friday. With Willamette's additional win on Saturday, Swick is 201-181-1 in 10 seasons with the Bearcats.
For Del Prado, the record for putouts shows how much he has competed for the Bearcats at first base over the past three seasons. After competing in 16 games with four starts as a freshman, Del Prado has played in 30 or more games each year. He saw action in 36 games (33 starts) as a sophomore in 2016. He played in 41 games -- all starts -- in 2017 as the Bearcats reached the championship game of the Northwest Conference Tournament. This season, he has played in and started 30 of Willamette's 31 games.
With his significant amount of playing time, Del Prado has piled up the putouts. In 2016 the registered 302 putouts, and in 2017 he finished with 358. This spring, he has earned 253 putouts. He registered a career-high 19 putouts in a game at Whitman College on Feb. 21, 2016. He has helped the Bearcats turn 88 doubles plays during his carerer, including 85 over the past three seasons and 60 in the past two years.
Along the way, he has attained a .987 career fielding percentage with only 13 errors on 1,005 chances (putouts + assists + errors). He has played in 123 games in is career, including 108 starts, and owns a .308 career batting average. Del Prado was named Second Team All-NWC in 2016.
"Eric has great talent on offense and defense, and has been a consistent contributor the last three years," Swick said. "It is a direct result of all the hard work he puts in on and off the field."
Del Prado is sixth all-time at Willamette with 104 career runs batted in. He leads this year's team with 36 RBIs, after producing 32 RBIs in both 2016 and 2017. Willamette's career leader is Kyle Stalker with 161 RBIs from 2006-09.
Other career totals for Del Prado include 136 hits, 59 runs scored, 27 doubles and 12 home runs. He owns a .455 career slugging percentage.