After earning only five hits off five different pitchers over the first six innings, Seattle University broke through with three runs in the seventh inning and held on for a 5-2 victory over the University of British Columbia Tuesday afternoon in a non-conference collegiate baseball game at Bannerwood Park.
With the score tied at 1-1, Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) hit his first home run of the season over the left field wall with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) drew a four-pitch walk, and pinch hitter Zach Aaker (Ravensdale, Wash.) smacked the ball right back where it came from, hitting Thunderbird pitcher Connor Smith in the leg, as Aaker reached on an infield single.
Nick Latta (Tacoma, Wash.) hit a bouncer down the third base line that deflected off the glove of Kevin Biro for a single, loading the bases. Pinch hitter Bryndon Ecklund (Elma, Wash.) hit a ground ball to second base, but he was able to beat the relay throw from shortstop Tyson Popoff, allowing Cray to score and keeping the inning alive. Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) followed with a single through the right side, scoring Aaker to increase the Redhawk lead to 4-1.
Seattle U freshman pitcher Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) picked up his third strikeout of the game to start the eighth inning, but Greg Densem sent a double down the left field line. After Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) came on in relief of Moore, Andrew Firth singled to center field, scoring Densem. After a flyout, Dennis walked Jeremy Kral on four pitches, but Eric Yardley (Richland, Wash.) was able to get Biro on a groundout on his first pitch to end the UBC threat.
Sean Narby (Auburn, Wash.) led off the ninth inning with a home run to left field, his fourth of the season, to reestablish a three-run lead for the Redhawks. Yardley gave up a one-out double to pinch hitter Sebastian Wong in the top of the ninth inning, but he induced back-to-back groundouts to end the game, picking up his seventh save of the season and giving Moore his first career collegiate victory.
British Columbia (18-11) started the scoring in the top of the first when, with two outs, Densem sent a double into the gap in right-center field and scored on a single to left-center field by Firth. That would be the only run allowed by Redhawk starter Kyle Doyle (Covington, Wash.), who pitched 2 2/3 innings before giving way to Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) for 2 1/3 innings of no-hit relief.
With one out in the bottom of the third inning, Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) singled and advanced all the way to third base when nobody covered second base while Densem attempted to catch Fields stealing. After Roberts was hit by a pitch, Grant Newton (Bend, Ore.) drove in Fields with a single just inside the right field line.
Roberts finished the game 3-for-3, while Olson was the other Redhawk with a multiple-hit game, going 2-for-4. Newton’s 1-for-4 effort would extend his streak of reaching base safely at least once to 20 games.
Densem and Firth provided most of the offense for the Thunderbirds, combining for both runs while going 5-for-8 at the plate. Eight British Columbia pitchers combined for seven strikeouts during the afternoon.
Seattle University (11-20) leaves Wednesday for a three-game WAC series at Dallas Baptist, starting Thursday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. Central time (4:30 p.m. Pacific time). The series continues Friday, April 12, at 3:00 p.m. local time before concluding Saturday, April 13, at 12 noon Central time.