By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University and University of Puget Sound baseball teams, originally set to play a three-game Northwest Conference series on Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8 will now battle each other on Sunday, April 8 and Monday, April 9 due to the weather. With significant rain and higher-than-normal wind in the forecast for Saturday, the teams and the NWC have agreed to start the series with a doubleheader on Sunday, April 8, with first pitch set for 12 p.m. (PDT) at John Lewis Field in Salem. The Bearcats and the Loggers will finish the series with a single game on Monday, April 9 at 3 p.m.
Willamette brings a 17-14 record into the game, along with a 9-9 mark in the NWC. Puget Sound is 15-14 overall and 9-9 in the NWC. Both teams are part of a four-way tie for fourth place in the NWC standings. Pacific Lutheran University leads the NWC at 16-4, with Linfield College and Whitman College tied for second at 10-8. Willamette, Puget Sound, George Fox University (9-9) and Whitworth (9-9) are all tied for fourth place, just one game behind Linfield and Whitman.
Connor Bailey (Jr., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) tops the Willamette offensive chart with a .325 batting average while starting all 31 games. He is tied with Jacob Bockelie of Pacific Lutheran and Joseph Zimmer of Whitman for first place in the NWC with seven home runs. In addition, Bailey leads the Bearcats with 37 hits, 26 runs scored, three triples, a .623 slugging percentage and a .417 on-base percentage. He is tied for first on the team with 20 walks and is tied for second with four sacrfice flies. He is second for Willamette with 32 RBIs and seven doubles.
Jack Brett (Sr., C, Aurora, CO/Regis Jesuit HS) is batting .321 with six doubles and four home runs. He ranks second on the team with a .543 slugging percentage. Eric Del Prado (Sr., 1B, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) is hitting .316 with a team-high 36 RBIs, eight doubles and five sacrifice flies. He ranks second on the team with 36 hits. Del Prado recently became Willamette's all-time leader in career putouts on defense and enters the weekend with 949 putouts in four seasons with the Bearcats.
Matt Steindorf (Jr., RHP, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) leads WU's starting pitchers with a 6-3 record and a 3.06 earned run average. Steindorf has pitched 64 2/3 innings this season and has struck out 39 batters.