The University of Portland took the early advantage, and Seattle University was unable to put together enough offense for a comeback as the Pilots defeated the Redhawks, 13-6, Wednesday afternoon in a non-conference collegiate baseball game at Bannerwood Park.
Portland (12-17) started its offensive attack in the second inning, loading the bases on consecutive singles by Caleb Whalen, Kevin Farley, and Nick Armenta. Ben Grubb drew a bases loaded walk to force in Whalen, and Farley would score when a grounder hit by Michael Lucarelli was mishandled.
After Kyle Doyle (Covington, Wash.) notched a strikeout for the first out of the inning, Colin Sowers cleared the bases with a double into the left-center field gap. After Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) came on in relief of Doyle, Sowers would advance to third on a single by Jeff Melby and score on a sacrifice fly to left field from Cody Lenahan.
The Pilots continued their offensive explosion in the third inning, starting when Armenta singled to right field and then reached second on a Redhawk fielding error. Bo Cornish would single to center field, loading the bases for Sowers, who drove in two more runs with his second double in as many at-bats. Melby drove in Cornish with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Lenahan would follow with a single to right field that scored Sowers, giving Portland a 10-0 advantage.
After the first six Redhawks were retired, Josh Kutz (Seattle, Wash.) led off the third inning with a single, and Zach Aaker (Ravensdale, Wash.) followed with a home run over the wall in right field, his first in two years as a Redhawk. Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) drew a one-out walk and Grant Newton (Bend, Ore.) singled to put runners on the corners with two outs, but Seattle U could not close the deficit any further.
The Pilots would again load the bases in the sixth inning thanks to singles by Whalen and Farley as well as a Seattle U error on a grounder hit by Grubb. Lucarelli drove in Whalen and Farley with a single to right field, and Cornish would follow with his own RBI single, scoring Grubb. Mason Stidham (Star, Idaho) came on and retired the next two Pilot batters, but not before Portland extended its lead to 13-2.
Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, and Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) followed with a double, ending the day for Portland starter Kody Watts. After Chad Kjemhus induced popups on the first two pitches he threw, Aaker laced a double to right-center field, scoring both Roberts and Somers.
Cray led off the seventh inning with a single and raced around the bases to score on a double to right field by Newton. Roberts would reach base with a single and then attempt to steal second base, forcing a bad throw from Cornish that allowed Newton to come home. The Redhawks put together a threat in the eighth inning, but Brandon Snyder came on for the Pilots, finished off the eighth without any runs scoring, and set down Seattle U in order in the ninth inning to end the game.
Cray, Newton, Roberts, and Aaker finished with two hits apiece for the Redhawks, with Aaker driving in four runs in a game for the second time this season. Doyle took the loss for Seattle U, allowing five hits, one walk, and six runs, four of them earned, in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Portland accumulated 18 hits, with Whalen, Lucarelli, and Cornish each finishing with three hits and four other Pilot batters earning two hits during the game. Sowers led the Pilots with five RBI in the contest. Watts gave up six hits, two walks, and four runs in five innings of work, but he did end up with his first victory of the season.
Seattle University (10-18) returns to conference play this weekend with a three-game Western Athletic Conference series against the UTSA Roadrunners, starting Friday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at Bannerwood Park. The series will continue Saturday, April 6, at 2 p.m., with the conclusion scheduled for Sunday, April 7, at 12 noon.