Seattle University received the timely hitting it was missing in the previous game, scoring a single run in four of the final five innings to complete a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the University of Portland Wednesday afternoon in collegiate baseball action at Bannerwood Park.
Down 4-1 halfway through the game, the Redhawks started their comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Grant Newton (Bend, Ore.) led off with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.), and came around to score on a double to left-center field by Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.). After a Pilot pitching change, Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) singled to center field to put runners on the corners with just one out, but Portland reliever Alex Fisher induced a double-play grounder to end the Redhawk threat.
After stranding the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Seattle U put together another scoring chance in the seventh when Fields led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout by Cray. He would score on a grounder to second base by Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.), and the inning would be extended thanks to a double by Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) and an infield single from Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.). However, Colin Feldtman came on in relief and earned the final out to keep Portland on top by one, 4-3.
Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) singled to lead off the eighth inning, and then he would hustle to third base when the throw attempting to retire pinch hitter Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.) got away from the Portland first baseman. Fields laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt, driving in Carpenter with the game-tying run.
Olson led off the ninth inning with a single up the middle, and Hendrickson moved pinch runner Eric Koenig (Auburn, Wash.) over to second base with a sacrifice bunt. After a single by McGuire put runners at the corners, Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.) ended the game with a single into the left-center field gap, scoring Koenig.
“We caused all the (Portland) runs, so we felt good with where we were. Offensively, the guys were getting hits, but not the timely hits we needed early. Eventually, we had the right people at bat in the right situations,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “It’s great to have Cash back in the lineup consistently, Chase did a great job with the safety squeeze, and Michael deserved to have the game-winning RBI.”
Mac Acker (Redmond, Wash.) picked up his third victory of the season, pitching the final three innings in relief and allowing just two hits while striking out five batters. Feldtman took the loss for the Pilots as he gave up four hits and two runs, one of them earned, in 1 2/3 innings on the mound.
The Redhawks started the scoring in the bottom of the first when Cray singled to right-center field, advanced to second on a balk by Portland starter Billy Sahlinger, and came around to score on a single by Olson. Sahlinger settled down in the next three innings, allowing just two hits while picking up two strikeouts.
Portland (5-11) loaded the bases in the first inning before hitting into an inning-ending double play. With one out in the second inning, Bo Cornish and Chet Thompson drew back-to-back walks, and Michael Lucarelli singled to load the bases. After a lineout, Caleb Whalen singled to center field, scoring Cornish and Thompson to put the Pilots on top. A walk to Turner Gill that loaded the bases again ended the start of Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.).
With Grant Gunning (Snohomish, Wash.) now on the mound, Ryan Littlefield led off the third inning with a single, and he reached second when the Redhawks made a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Grant Taylor. After Cornish advanced both runners with his own sacrifice bunt, Gunning picked up a strikeout, but his wild throw on a ground ball hit by Lucarelli allowed Littlefield to score. Lucarelli forced a rundown when the Redhawks tried to pick him off first base, but he lasted long enough for Taylor to score the Pilots’ fourth run of the game.
Gunning allowed just one hit over the next three innings before handing the ball over to Acker. The Redhawks finished with 16 hits in the game, led by Fields and McGuire with three hits apiece. Whalen and Lucarelli led the Pilot offense with two hits each.
Before the start of Wednesday’s game, it was announced that the weekend series between Seattle U and Chicago State would be postponed due to the accumulation of snow currently on the ground in Chicago. It is unknown at this time if any of the games will be rescheduled.
Seattle University (7-11) is now not scheduled to play again until Tuesday, March 25, at Oregon State at Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., followed by a single game against the Pilots at Joe Etzel Field in Portland Wednesday, March 26. The Redhawks return to Bannerwood Park for a three-game conference series against Texas-Pan American March 28-30.