Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – Darkness fell on the Whittier College Baseball team in their season opener Friday as they fell in seven innings to Willamette University 11-8.
The game was called due to darkness after a combined 19 runs and 25 hits in a game that lasted three and a half hours. In tough conditions, which included rain, cold temperatures and darkness, the Purple & Gold were unable to complete the comeback as they drop their first game on the season.
Willamette struck first in the top half of the first inning but it wouldn't hold as Whittier would tie things up in the bottom half. Brandon Mulrooney (Placentia, Calif.) led things off with a single to right field and then moved over following a sacrifice bunt from Steven Castro (Long Beach, Calif.) before coming in on a Matthew Macey (Oceanside, Calif.) double down the right field line.
The Purple & Gold took the lead in the third putting up three runs thanks to Macey who hit a three run bomb to deep left scoring Mulrooney and Castro that made the score 4-1.
But trouble brewed over the next two innings however as Willamette would bring across eight runs with four in each inning. The first four coming in the fourth against Alex Baez (Chino Hills, Calif.), who surrendered a mere two earned runs for the game but wasn't helped behind him during the frame as three errors proved costly.
The very next inning the Bearcats touched up Royce Komesu (Kailua, HI) for another four runs on four hits that gave them a 9-4 lead. Two of the runs coming off the bat of Jack Brett who striped a ball over the right field fence.
Whittier however rallied in the bottom half of the sixth and brought across four runs on four hits that cut the deficit to one. Michael Angulo (Sunnyvale, Calif.) singled to right field to get things started and his pinch runner Nick Krska (Happy valley, OR) would then be moved over after a double from Andrew Lamar (Alta Loma, Calif.). Bases got loaded soon after as Charlie Mayfield (Placentia, Calif.) would draw a walk and Hank Burditt (Granada Hills, Calif.) would capitalize as he would collect a pinch hit single up the middle that would bring in one.
Mulrooney then stepped in and punished a ball to left center that scored two and Castro would bring in the final run with a sacrifice fly to left.
But the Poets would get stalled there and couldn't bring across anything else as Willamette would add another two the very next inning before holding on for the two run victory.
Baez picked up the loss going 4.0 innings giving up one run with nine strikeouts. Macey finished 3-4 with four runs batted in and a run scored. Mulrooney finished 2-3 with two RBI's and two runs scored, while Angulo was 2-3.
Whittier wraps up their three game series with Willamette tomorrow, Saturday, February 4 as they play a twin bill with game times set for 11:00am and 2:00pm.