TACOMA, Washington – Whether it's winning large or by the skin of their teeth, the Puget Sound baseball team proved it has knack for finding a way to win as it swept Willamette in a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon.
Puget Sound 16, Willamette 2
The Loggers (15-15, 13-8 NWC) matched a season-best 20 hits as the Loggers' scored double-digit runs for the ninth time this season. Nathan Backes (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) belted his third home run of the season as his two-run shot gave Puget Sound a 10-1 lead in the fourth inning.
Collin Maier continued his dominant season on the hill. The sophomore starting pitcher allowed just two runs on five hits through six innings.
Three Willamette (18-12, 10-11 NWC) errors in the first inning resulted in a pair of Logger runs. Bobby Hosmer and Backes both picked up RBIs in the opening stanza.
The first three Loggers reached base to open the second inning. Layne Croney (4-for-4, 3 R, 2 2B) and Cal Muramaru (4-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI) both singled, and Johnny Hosmer (1-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B) drew a walk. Connor Savage's (1-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI) RBI single scored Croney. Later in the inning, Savage was caught in a run down as he tried to steal second with Muramaru on third, and heads up base running allowed Muramaru to score without a throw home on the play. Savage used his elite speed and agility to elude tags and land safely on second base.
Puget Sound put the game well out of reach with a five-run sixth inning. Croney and Johnny Hosmer hit back-to-back doubles, and Muramaru followed with an RBI for the first two runs of the frame. An RBI double by Chris Zerio (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B) and a two-run double by Bobby Hosmer accounted for the inning's other three runs.
Puget Sound 6, Willamette 5
The Bearcats scored four runs in the seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead, but the Loggers won their second game of the season in dramatic fashion. Puget Sound put runners on the corners with one out following consecutive singles by Zerio (2-for-4, 2 R, SB) and Bobby Hosmer (1-for-5). Backes smacked a single to left field and Zerio touched home plate for the game-tying run.
Croney (1-for-5, R) followed with a single of his won, which loaded the bases for Kaulana Smith (0-for-1, RBI). The Puget Sound shortstop hit a hard chopper to the shortstop and pinch-runner Yuki Umeda beat the throw home to give the Loggers the walk-off victory.
The Loggers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to two errors by the Bearcats. An RBI double by Backes (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B) in the third pushed the lead to 3-0. Willamette got a run in the fourth, but Muramaru's (2-for-4, RBI) RBI single in the home-half of the inning made it 4-1.
The Loggers host crosstown rival Pacific Lutheran for three games this weekend, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 11, at 12 p.m.