After losing the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, Seattle University settled down in the second game and received some timely hitting in the eighth inning to win the nightcap and split the Western Athletic Conference twinbill with Grand Canyon University at Bannerwood Park.
Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning of the second game, the only run to score until the eighth inning. On the mound, Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) allowed just four hits through the first seven innings as he kept Grand Canyon off the scoreboard.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Paul Panaccione reached base on an error, and David Walker drew a walk. Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.) came on in relief of Genger and walked pinch hitter Josh Meyer to load the bases. Chad De La Guerra would reach base on catcher’s interference, forcing in Panaccione with the game-tying run before Anderson induced a flyout from Humberto Aranda to end the Antelope threat.
Grand Canyon reliever Malcolm Purdy retired the first two Redhawk batters in the bottom of the eighth inning before Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) extended the inning with a single to left field. Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) sent a liner into the outfield that Antelope rightfielder Brian Kraft seemed to misplay, allowing Carpenter to come all the way around from first base to score the go-ahead run.
Anderson came back out for the ninth inning and gave up a single to Michael Pomeroy. After Kraft reached on a fielder’s choice, he attempted to take second base on a pitch in the dirt, but Olson threw him out at second base, and Anderson closed out his third victory of the season by inducing a flyout.
Carpenter and Colin Peterson (Bellingham, Wash.) led Seattle U with two hits apiece as the Redhawks finished the second game with eight hits. Pomeroy collected two hits for the Antelopes, who were held to just five hits in the nightcap.
“Game one was a tough one to swallow, as our patterns and rhythms were off from the change in start time. Our attitude was good in game two, and Skyler gave us exactly what we needed in order to be competitive,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “After we gave up the tying run, we could have folded, but I give the guys credit for staying with it. We got big two-out hits from Brock and Cullen, and our resiliency was great tonight.”
The beginning of the first game was sloppy, as Seattle U scored one run in the bottom of the first when Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) reached on an Antelope error, advanced to third on a single by Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.), and scored on a bases-loaded groundout hit by Olson. The Redhawks had runners on second and third with one out, but could not score any more runs in the inning.
Grand Canyon (24-19, 13-7 WAC) erupted for four runs in the second inning, the last two coming on a bases-loaded single by De La Guerra. After Seattle U scored another run in the bottom of the second on an RBI triple by Fields, the Antelopes scored three more runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Panaccione and Brandon Smith, who came around to score on a Redhawk throwing error after Walker had reached base on an infield single.
After De La Guerra drew a walk to lead off the fourth inning, Meyer hit a two-run home run to extend the Grand Canyon lead to 9-2. However, that would be the only hit allowed by Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.) in four innings of relief, but he received no offensive support from his teammates, as the Redhawks could not score any runs in the third inning after loading the bases with nobody out.
Grand Canyon starter Andrew Naderer cruised through innings four through seven, retiring 12 of the 13 Seattle U batters he faced. Meanwhile, the Antelopes scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning, loading the bases with nobody out and then taking advantage of the situation, capped by an RBI single from Pomeroy.
In the bottom of the eighth, Naderer hit Hendrickson with a pitch, walked Carpenter, and gave up a single to Peterson to load the bases with two outs. Trent Wilson came on in relief and forced a groundout to end the Redhawk threat as well as the game thanks to the conference 10-run rule.
Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) took the loss for the Redhawks, giving up eight hits and seven runs, four of them earned, in three innings of work. McCann went 2-for-4 to lead the Redhawks offensively, while four different Grand Canyon players earned two hits each as the Antelopes finished with 11 hits.
Seattle University (22-20, 10-7 WAC) will look to win its third straight home conference series when it faces Grand Canyon in the rubber game of the weekend set Saturday, May 3, starting at 2 p.m. It is Ed O’Brien Day at the park, as the late Seattle U Athletics Hall of Famer will be honored with the presence of his wife Terry and twin brother Johnny in honorary first pitch ceremonies shortly before the game. Tickets will cost just $3, and the first 100 fans through the entry gate will receive a replica baseball card featuring the O’Brien brothers when they joined the Pittsburgh Pirates.