Seattle University attempted to reel in the University of Portland in the ninth inning, but the Pilots were able to hold on for a 6-4 victory over the Redhawks Tuesday evening in a non-conference collegiate baseball game at Bannerwood Stadium.
Portland (1-4) quickly put a run on the board in the top of the first inning thanks to consecutive singles by Caleb Whalen, Turner Gill, and Brian Frattali. Meanwhile, freshman Billy Sahlinger, a native of Bellevue, made his collegiate debut as the starting pitcher for the Pilots, striking out five Redhawk batters in the first three innings.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout hit by Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.). Portland answered right back in the top of the fifth inning when Ben Grubb walked, advanced to second on a single by Michael Lucarelli, reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Kramer Scott, and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field hit by Whalen.
Seattle U starter Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) was solid through six innings, but got into immediate trouble in the seventh inning as Chet Thompson led off with a single and Grubb followed with a double. Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.) came on in relief and induced a grounder from Lucarelli, but Grubb was able to safely reach third after a rundown ended with a Seattle U error.
Hammond hit Scott with a pitch to load the bases, and Gill followed with a single to right field that drove in Grubb and Lucarelli. With two outs and Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) on the mound, Cody Lenahan laced a double down the left field line, scoring Scott to extend Portland's lead to 6-1.
Seattle U threatened to score in the seventh inning when Zach Aaker (Ravensdale, Wash.) was hit by a pitch and Sean Narby (Auburn, Wash.) singled to center field. Chad Kjemhus came on in relief and notched back-to-back strikeouts, the second one coupled with a pickoff by Grubb on Narby at first base to end the Redhawk threat.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) led off with a walk and scored on a double to right field by pinch hitter Steve Kirbach (Kirkland, Wash.). After Narby singled, Jeremy Burright came on in relief and induced a popup for the first out.
Nick Latta (Tacoma, Wash.) sent a fly ball to center field that scored Kirbach, but Nick Armenta dropped the ball, allowing Latta to reach and Narby to advance to second. Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) walked to load the bases, and a groundout by Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) drove in Narby to bring Seattle U to within two, but Burright struck out Roberts to end the game and pick up the save.
Sahlinger earned the victory, allowing two hits, two walks, and one run in six innings with six strikeouts. Genger was given the loss after allowing eight hits, two walks, and four runs, three of them earned, in six innings of work, picking up three strikeouts along the way.
Narby finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, the only Redhawk with a multiple-hit game in the contest. Gill finished 3-for-4 with two RBI, while both Frattali and Lenahan went 2-for-5 with one run batted in.
Seattle University (1-3) heads to San Luis Obispo, Calif., for a weekend series against the Cal Poly Mustangs, starting Friday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. Dan Giuliani will broadcast the game on GoSeattleU.com, starting with the pregame show about 20 minutes before first pitch.