Seattle University received a great pitching performance from senior starter Seafth Howe (Seattle, Wash.), but the bullpen and the defense could not hold the slim lead, and the Redhawks did not take advantage of enough scoring opportunities as the University of Portland pulled out a 5-2 victory Friday afternoon at Bannerwood Park.
To start the game, Howe walked Pilot leadoff batter Sam Westendorf, who stole second base and came around to score on back-to-back groundouts. That would be the only run Howe would give up in the game, scattering three hits in seven innings of work and retiring nine straight Portland batters at one point in the contest.
After leaving two runners on base in both the first and third innings, Seattle U finally broke through in the sixth inning, as a fly ball hit by Michael Tevlin (Billings, Mont.) was lost in the sun by Pilot centerfielder Chet Thompson, allowing Riley Tompkins (Lynnwood, Wash.) to come around and score the game-tying run. However, the Redhawks would once again leave two runners stranded on base in that inning.
In the seventh inning, Marcelino Morales (Pasco, Wash.) drew a leadoff walk off Pilot starter Travis Radke, who was replaced by J.R. Bunda. Bunda walked Trent Oleszczuk (Beaverton, Ore.), and the two runners would execute a double steal to advance to second and third with no one out. Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) drove in Morales with a sacrifice fly to right field, also allowing Oleszczuk to advance to third base. Unfortunately for the Redhawks, Oleszczuk was stranded at third base thanks to back-to-back infield groundouts.
Portland (26-24) responded in the top of the eighth inning facing Redhawk reliever Kyle Doyle (Covington, Wash.), starting with Thompson drawing a leadoff walk and scoring on a double down the right field line by Beau Fraser. Michael Lucarelli caught Roberts playing back and laid down a bunt towards third base for a single, and Roberts's wild throw into right field allowed pinch runner Colin Sowers to come around and score the go-ahead run for the Pilots.
Bo Cornish laid down a bunt towards third base, which Roberts could not field, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. After an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempt by Westendorf led to Lucarelli being forced out at third base, Brian Frattali was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Turner Gill laced a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Cornish, and Caleb Whalen drove in Westendorf with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Bryndon Ecklund (Elma, Wash.) led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single, but he was forced out at second base on a dribbler hit by Tevlin. Sean Narby (Auburn, Wash.) singled, and Morales would reach on a fielding error by Frattali to load the bases with two outs. Portland closer Owen Jones came into the game, struck out Oleszczuk to end the eighth inning, and then retired the Redhawks in order in the ninth inning for his 16th save of the season.
Keeler Brynteson picked up the victory for Portland despite allowing the two Seattle U hits in the eighth inning. Fraser was the only player on either team to enjoy a multiple-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a run batted in.
Seattle University (22-29) will look to even the weekend series against Portland Saturday, May 25, in a game at Courter Field on the campus of Bellevue College. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., with Senior Day ceremonies preceding the game at approximately 12:35 p.m.