Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Baseball team opened up their 2019 campaign Friday afternoon falling 4-2 in a highly contested battle with Willamette University.
The Bearcats took the field immediately after touching down at LAX and picked up their first win on the season as Whittier drops to 0-1. The Purple & Gold who were coming off a 9-1 loss to Vanguard University in an exhibition game Thursday saw it tough to score Friday afternoon at Hugh B. Mendez Stadium. They collected two runs on seven hits, while stranding seven.
Alex Baez (Chino Hills, Calif.), the Poet ace got the nod and he threw strong going 7.0 innings giving up just two earned runs on six hits. Matt Steindorf on the other side threw 8.0 complete surrendering just one earned run on seven hits and collected double digit strikeouts (10). Brandon Murillo also picked up the save for the Bearcats throwing the final inning not giving up a hit.
Alexander Jelloian (Chatsworth, Calif.) led the offense going 2-3 with an RBI. John Vuz (Blairstown, NJ) also had two hits on the day, which included a double. Each team scored a run in the first inning. Willamette used a double, got the bases loaded and got lucky with a hit by pitch that brought in their first run. But in the bottom half of the inning, Whittier struck back with a two out rally. Nick Krska (Happy Valley, OR) reached on an error by the shortstop and then advanced to second when Jelloian was hit by a pitch. The very next batter, freshman Jacob Bauer (Pleasanton, Calif.) tied things up with a base knock to right center.
In the 3rd, the Poets took a lead. Daniel Tuerffs (Yorba Linda, Calif.) led off the inning getting hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position when Krska laid down a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later Jelloian drove in the go-ahead run with a single down the right field line. This lead wouldn't hold however as Willamette would tack on a run in the 4th and 5th innings. The game-tying run came on a two-out walk with the bases loaded and the eventual game-winner would come the very next inning with the Bearcats capitalizing on an errant throw on a pick-off that set them up with a sacrifice fly opportunity.
In the 9th, Willamette added insurance as Bailey would go yard, his first of the season that pushed the final score to 4-3.
Whittier wraps up the three game series tomorrow, Saturday, February 9 when they host Willamette for a three game series. Game times set for 11:00am and 2:00pm.