SALEM, Ore. – A solid start from Nate Aguiar and an offensive outburst led the Puget Sound baseball team to a doubleheader split with Willamette on Sunday. The Loggers (16-22, 11-13 NWC) salvaged the final game with a 15-3 rout, but fell 6-4 in the first game.
Game 1 – L, 4-6
The two teams combined for 23 hits in the contest, but Willamette was able cash in their 12 hits for six runs to come away with the win. It started with a pair of runs in the first that immediately gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead.
The Loggers got one back when Jeff Walton scored on a 6-4-3 double play in the third. However, Tosh Semlacher homered in the bottom half with a runner aboard to increase the Bearcats lead to 4-1.
Brandon Simon cruised through the next five frames. He allowed seven Logger hits through the first eight innings and held them to just the one run. Meanwhile, his offense gave him some more insurance as Tyson Giza and Austin Hagarty each drove in runs in the eighth for a 6-1 Bearcat lead.
Those final two runs chased Steve Wagar from the game and ended up being critical in the effort. Wagar lasted a solid 7.2 innings and fanned five before giving way to Jarrod Beiser, who retired the only batter he faced in the eighth.
The Loggers were finally able to get to Simon in the ninth. With two outs, Walton singled in a run to cut the lead to 6-2. Stephen Kelsey followed it up with a two-RBI double down the left field line to cut the lead down to just two runs.
Simon was able to produce a game-ending grounder with Kelsey still standing on second.
Game 2 – W, 15-3
The Loggers erupted in the series finale at the plate. Connor Savage had four hits in the contest while Kaulana Smith and Chris Zerio each contributed three hits. Smith also drove in three runs.
Nate Aguiar had a quality performance on the mound, allowing just one hit through his first six innings to earn his third win of the season. Aguiar was mowing through the Bearcat order until he ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh.
After retiring the first batter, the Bearcats loaded the bases on a pair of hits and a Logger error and cashed in a run on a sacrifice fly. After loading the bases again, Aguiar gave way to Lucas Stone. He ended the game with four strikeouts through 6.2 innings while also allowing just three hits.
Stone went the final 2.1 inning and allowed just one unearned run despite not allowing a hit.
The Logger offense supported Aguiar's strong performance with a 15-run outburst on 20 hits. The onslaught got started with five runs in the third. Smith and Savage each knocked in a run to get the initial lead. Christian Carter then sent a three-run homer over the wall in right center to pad the Logger lead to 5-0.
They added another run in the fifth and sixth and two more in the eighth for a comfortable 9-2 lead heading into the final frame. The Logger bats weren't done as they added six more runs for good measure in the top of the ninth. Walton doubled in two. Kelsey drove in one with a sacrifice fly, and Stone singled in another. Smith picked up the final RBI of his three for the game and Paul Webster capped the inning with a pinch-hit RBI single.
Willamette picked up one in the ninth on a Logger error for the final tally.
The Loggers wrapped up the NWC season with the win in the finale with an 11-13 record. They will play a pair of non-conference games next Saturday when they welcome Whitman for a 10 a.m. game and Pacific for a 4 p.m. contest to wrap up the season.