Seattle University built a significant lead through most of the game and then needed to hold off a rally by the University of Portland to clinch the season series from its Pacific Northwest rival with a 9-4 collegiate baseball victory Tuesday afternoon at Joe Etzel Field.
Seattle U starter Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) retired the first 12 Portland batters he faced in order before allowing a single up the middle from Devin Kopas to lead off the fifth inning. He allowed two hits in both the fifth and sixth innings, but a strikeout in the fifth and a groundout in the sixth ended each Pilot scoring chance.
“Skyler was outstanding today. He kept Portland off balance all day and did an excellent job getting ahead of hitters,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said.
With one out in the top of the first inning, Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.) singled to left field, Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) drew a four-pitch walk, and Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) singled to left field, with Andreychuk coming around to score the first run of the game.
A single to right field by Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) loaded the bases, and Portland starter Billy Sahlinger hit Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) with a pitch, forcing in Cray with the second run of the inning. Sam Finfer’s (Bellevue, Wash.) sacrifice fly to right field scored Olson, extending the Redhawk lead to 3-0.
Finfer led off the fourth inning with a single to right field, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Colin Peterson (Bellingham, Wash.), and came around to score on a single through the right side of the infield by Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.). Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) reached base on a bunt single, and, after a popout, Cray laced a pitch down the right field line for a triple, driving in both McCann and Fields as well as ending Sahlinger’s outing.
The Redhawks added to their lead in the seventh inning, starting with an infield single by Olson and a single from Carpenter that put runners on the corners with one out. After a Portland pitching change, pinch hitter Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.) hit a double down the left field line, driving in both Olson and Carpenter.
Portland (8-30) put together a scoring opportunity in the eighth inning when pinch hitter Austin Kelly led off with a single and Michael Lucarelli followed with his own single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. After a strikeout, Caleb Whalen was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Cody Lenahan cleared the bases with a triple down the right field line to put the Pilots on the board. Lenahan would score on a sacrifice fly hit by Kopas, but Redhawk reliever Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.) picked up an inning-ending strikeout to avoid any further damage.
Seattle U extended its advantage in the ninth inning when Carpenter led off with a double to left-center field and scored on a double down the third base line by Peterson. Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) took the mound in the bottom of the ninth, gave up a leadoff single, and hit the next Pilot batter, but he closed out the game with a strikeout and a double play lineout.
With the victory, Seattle U clinched the season series over Portland, 3-2, and extended its winning streak to five games, the second time this season the Redhawks have put together a five-game winning streak. Every Redhawk hitter earned at least one hit as Seattle U collected 15 hits during the afternoon, but the Redhawks did leave 10 runners on base.
“Our offense came out aggressive, and anytime everyone in your lineup can get a hit, it has a chance to be a great day. We hope this momentum carries over to New Mexico State,” added Harrel.
Seattle University (16-15) heads to Las Cruces, N.M., for an Easter weekend series against the New Mexico State Aggies Thursday through Saturday, April 17-19. The games on Thursday, April 17, at 6 p.m. Mountain time and Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. local time will be broadcast online on ESPN3, with Thursday’s game also on Fox College Sports Atlantic and Saturday’s contest on Fox College Sports Pacific. The teams will play a doubleheader Friday, April 18, starting at 3 p.m. Mountain time, with the second game of the twinbill scheduled as a seven-inning non-conference matchup.