By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
NEWBERG, Ore. -- Justin Scanlon (Jr., 2B/DH, San Jose, CA/Leigh HS/West Valley College) went 3 for 6 with a double, two runs and four RBIs in the first game of Willamette University's non-conference doubleheader at George Fox University on Sunday, April 5 to lead the Bearcats to a 13-6 win. In the second game, Scanlon added another hit and an RBI, while Connor Bailey (Sr., CF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) smacked the ninth triple of his career to tie a school record. George Fox won the second game 9-2, as the teams split the twinbill.
Willamette concluded its season at 19-16 overall. George Fox finished its season at 23-17.
It was the final Willamette doubleheader for the 11 seniors on the Bearcats' roster. Senior pitchers Nathan Gilman (RHP, Chino Hills, CA/Diamond Ranch HS) and Brandon Nelson (RHP, Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS) each started one of the games. Five other seniors started both games: Bailey, Tyler Janitz (Sr., SS, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS), Cole Pursell (Sr., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS), Kyle Paguio (Sr., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) and Sam Hudd (Sr., 1B, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS).
"It was great to have one last day with the seniors," Willamette Head Coach Aaron Swick said. "They have been instrumental in shaping the the culture of our program. I know each of them will do great things in the future."
Bearcats Surge Out to 9-0 Lead in First Inning of Opener
Much of the offense in the first game was in the first inning. The Bearcats scored nine times in the top of the inning for 9-0 lead. George Fox plated five runs in the bottom of the first, but scored only one run the rest of the game.
WU's nine-run charge to start the game included just three hits. Scanlon provided a key part of the offensive effort with a pair of two-run singles in two at bats during the inning. Quality at bats by the Bearcats also led to five walks, two hit batsmen and a wild pitch. Ethan Fischel (Fr., 2B, Eureka, CA/Eureka HS), Hudd and Janitz each earned an RBI with a bases-loaded walk, while Tyler Vandemark (So., LF, Modesto, CA/Joseph A. Gregori HS) forced in a run when he was hit by a pitch. Janitz also walked to begin the inning.
In the bottom of the first, George Fox used five hits to cut WU's lead to 9-5. Matt Ramirez hit a double with one out. After Kyler Brudwick singled, Jerred Seamons drove in both runners with a double to left. Derek Johnson added an RBI single, before Sam Swenson brought in the final two runs with a homer to left.
After struggling in the first inning, Gilman kept the Bruins off the scoreboard for five consecutive innings. During those five innings, GFU managed just two hits. The Bruins scored once in the seventh. Gilman left the game after 7 2/3 innings, and was the winning pitcher, as he improved to 6-3. He struck out four batters and did not allow a walk.
Meanwhile, Willamette added one run in each of the second, third and fourth innings for 12-5 advantage. Hudd connected for an RBI single in the second, Pursell hit an RBI single in the third, and Hudd registered another RBI single in the fourth. Paguio, Scanlon and Joey Faudskar (Jr., OF/P, Phoenix, AZ/Pinnacle HS) scored the runs. The Bearcats grabbed the final margin of 13-6 in the ninth inning when Janitz walked and reached home on a double by Bailey.
Scanlon's 3-for-6 performance led the Bearcats. Hudd was 3 of 4 with one run, one walk and three RBIs. Bailey went 2 of 5 with a run an two RBIs, while Faudskar was 2 of 5 with a run scored. Seamons finished 2 of 3 with his two-run homer for George Fox.
Bailey Ties Career Triples Record in Second Game
In the second game, George Fox took a 4-1 lead with four runs in the bottom of the third. Bailey hit the ninth triple of his career and his second triple of the season in the fifth. Bailey scored on a single by Scanlon to cut the margin to 4-2, but the Bruins added two runs in the sixth and tallied three runs in the eighth to pull away.
Bailey tied Nik Lubisich for the career triples record. Lubisich earned nine triples while playing for the Bearcats from 1998 through 2001. Bailey also completed his career as Willamette's all-time leader with 213 hits and 615 at bats. He finished second with 143 career runs and 138 career RBIs.
This season, Bailey led Willamette with a .386 batting average, a .657 slugging percentage, 54 hits, 38 runs, 24 walks, seven homers and nine stolen bases. He tied for the team lead with 13 doubles and two triples. He was second on the team with 33 RBIs and a .470 on-base percentage.
Janitz walked to start the second game, and went to third one out later when Scanlon hit into a two-base error in center field. Janitz scored on a sacrifice fly by Pursell. GFU's third inning featured a two-run double by Chase Fetzer and an RBI single by Seamons. A throwing error early in the inning allowed the first run to score. All four runs were unearned.
When Bailey scored in the fifth, the Bearcats pulled within 4-2. WU was unable to close the margin, and the Bruins increased the lead to 6-2 in the sixth. Colby Watilo hit an RBI single and CJ Ibara added a sacrifice fly, but only one run was earned. In the eighth, GFU completed the scoring, as Swenson earned an RBI single and Matt Voelzke hit a two-RBI double.
The Bruins outhit Willamette 12-4. Voelzke and Fetzer each doubled and drove in two runs. In addition to Bailey's triple, the Bearcats received singles from Scanlon, Paguio and Vandemark. GFU starter Landon Schirer improved to 8-1 after throwing seven innings. Nelson, who started for WU, pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed six runs, but only one run was earned. He struck out four batters and had one walk. Nelson suffered the loss, but ended the year with a stellar 3.59 earned run average and 40 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Connor Bailey hit a triple for the Bearcats in the fifth inning
of the second game to tie a Willamette record with the ninth
triple of his career. Hitting a triple is no easy feat, since it often
requires power at the plate, a well-placed extra-base hit, and
quickness while running the bases. Bailey tied the record set
by Nik Lubisich from 1998 through 2001.